This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
Film history is filled with xenophobic tales of pretty Americans who disappear in foreign lands and the pretty people tasked with finding them, and this week sees the induction into this ignominious club of what could be its worst entry. “In the Blood” is a dull piece of nonsense, a film that makes one feel bad for straight-to-DVD staples like Treat Williams, Danny Trejo, and Luis Guzman. When you reach the critical point that you consider Trejo, the star of such gems as “Zombie Hunter” and “Dead in Tombstone”, to be above this material, you know you’re in a rare category of awful.
“In the Blood” is a film for which it’s hard to find something even remotely positive to say. Even the scenes that should have some sort of action-based, visceral charge are flat and inconsequential (and far too rare). It looks downright hideous, as if most of it was shot on a Go Pro. It could be used as a what-not-to-do example in an editing class; coverage feels off, the pacing is leaden, and the film develops absolutely no visual language of its own. The acting ranges from serviceable to simply dreadful, the plotting is utter nonsense, and, again, there isn’t even engaging action to make up for the silly narrative.
In opening narration that sounds pulled from a YA empowerment "Hunger Games" wannabe, Ava (Gina Carano) informs us that she was told by her father to “Never cry because those tears will be used against me.” She’s tough. Get it? But she’s not too tough to get married to Derek (Cam Gigandet) and jet off on a sun-kissed honeymoon. From the very beginning, Carano and Gigandet have zero chemistry. Watching them cavort in the surf and cuddle in the sun has all the believability of a Sandals commercial and it’s just one of the first scenes that feels horrendously, almost fascinatingly off in its pacing.
Ava and her new husband get into an altercation (with Danny Trejo, natch) at a nightclub and the action promised by casting the star of "Haywire" and "Fast & Furious 6" in a lead role feels like it will finally be fulfilled. And yet even this bit of fighting in a fancy dress doesn’t work. It’s shot with constant strobe lights meant to replicate the club setting, filmed from horrendous angles, and poorly choreographed. Even with that, I found myself longing for it half an hour later when the film gives up on action for its missing-man plotline.
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