In the Blood (2014)

The excellent Gina Carano takes her shot at her own version of “Breakdown,” and “Frantic,” with an action thriller that delivers on all fronts. If you loved Ms. Carano in “Haywire,” you’ll really enjoy the turn Carano takes here. “In the Blood” features a very respectable supporting cast along with Carano, playing a honeymooner with a tortured past who discovers her husband Derek has suddenly disappeared during their Caribbean getaway after a zip lining accident. Has he been kidnapped? Murdered? Is it a ruse from his over protective wealthy family to end the marriage?

Director John Stockwell knows how to put Ms. Carano’s talents on display, and she’s able to convey immense emotion and sadness when her situation spirals out of control. And like “Haywire,” she’s not a woman who simply sits around crying and falling in to men’s arms. As Ava, she’s a young girl raised by a vicious father who gave her a hard lesson in learning how to survive and handle herself. Stephen Lang is especially great as Ava’s father, who is viewed through flashbacks training her in martial arts and weapons handling. Ava has simply given up mourning people, until she finds her husband Derek (Cam Gigandet) is gone and likely dead.

Ava goes through heaven and hell to find him, even battling an entire squad of local officers when she’s sure there’s so much more to this situation than meets the eye. There are many clues introduced to the audience as well as shifty characters entering and exiting the narrative. Treat Williams is great as the zealous patriarch of Derek’s family insistent that Ava is trying to steal money from them, and I really enjoyed Amaury Nolasco as the film’s villain who seems to have a great time playing such a vicious bastard. Nolasco is a bonafide scene stealer, and proves to be a great match for Ava. Carano is the perfect fir for the role as Ava, giving her a ferocity and charisma that make her a heroine audiences can actually root for.

Ava garners the proper balance of vulnerability and strength, thus making her a believable protagonist fighting for her life, and struggling to make sense of why the only happiness that she’s ever encountered is suddenly missing. Director Stockwell, whose past credits include “Turistas,” and “Blue Crush,” really knows how to depict the beauty of the foreign landscape Ava is entrenched in, and can quickly switch it from beautiful to utterly menacing at the drop of a hat. I wasn’t very fond of the digital photography as most of the time the action and chase sequences felt like well crafted home video, but that becomes a minor distraction in an otherwise very entertaining action picture. “In the Blood” is a great vehicle for Gina Carano, it’s a tense and exciting action thriller I was very much invested in until the very end, and I can’t wait to see more from Ms. Carano.

In Theaters, On Demand and on iTunes on April 4, from Anchor Bay.