Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In the Blood Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Scott Meyers
Anchor Bay Films, in a joint distribution with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, presents the action-packed thriller In the Blood, available June 3rd on Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack and on Digital HD with Ultraviolet. In the Blood stars MMA Fighter/Action Star Gina Carano (Fast & Furious 6, Haywire) as Ava, a trained fighter with a dark past. When her new husband (Cam Gigandet) vanishes during their Caribbean honeymoon, Ava uncovers a violent underworld of conspiracy in the middle of an island paradise. Armed with a deadly set of skills, Ava sets out to discover the truth – and to take down the men she thinks are responsible for his abduction, one by one.along with a star-studded cast, including Cam Gigandet (Twilight), Luis Guzmán (We’re the Millers), Amaury Nolasco (Rum Diaries), Ismael Cruz Córdova (TV’s “The Good Wife”), Treat Williams (TV’s “Chicago Fire”), Stephen Lang (Avatar) and Danny Trejo (Machete).
Film (4 out of 5 stars)
MMA star Gina Carano stars as Ava, a woman with a shady past. When we first meet Ava she is woken up to watch her father be brutally murdered and she takes revenge and kills the two men that killed her father. We then flash forward to Ava's wedding day. Ava is marrying Derek (played by Cam Gigandet) to the displeasure of Derek's father, Robert (played by Treat Williams) who tries to persuade Derek from marrying her.

After the wedding the couple heads to the Caribbean for their honeymoon to Derek's family home on the beach. The happy couple is enjoying themselves and each other and one night at dinner they start to discuss their future together. At this point we meet Manny (played by Ismael Cruz Cordova) who is a local and he convinces them to go zip-lining with him the next day, but not before joining him at a local night club for some dancing. While enjoying music and dancing, the owner of the club, Big Biz (played by Danny Trejo) takes a liking to Ava and this upsets Derek. When the two start fighting Ava steps in a ends up beating up everyone to protect Derek. We see a flashback to her training with her father (played by Stephen Lang) and we learn of some of Ava's background of why she acts the way she does.

The next day Ava and Derek go zip-lining with Manny, where after an accident Ava must go hunt for Derek in the forest. Once Ava finds Derek, he is transported to the hospital. Forced to follow on a motorcycle, Ava is not able to keep up and when she arrives at the hospital there is no patient there by his name or description. After she has searched every possible hospital on the island, she heads to the police station to file a missing person's report and contacts Derek's family to let them know what has happened. Once his family gets there they all head to the police station to make an official statement where they talk with Chief Garza (played by Luis Guzman) who was no help.

Things start getting even more mysterious when Ava, along with Chief Garza, go back to the last place she remembers seeing Derek, the zip line, and no one knows who she is or what she is talking about. Back at the police station Garza puts the pressure on Ava after receiving a video of the fight from the other night. With Garza refusing to help, Ava decides to find her husband on her own. Derek's father is also no help, he blames her and thinks she is only after their money.

After tracking down one of perpetrators, Ava videotapes him confessing to help abduct Derek, but when she takes the video to the police they decide that she cannot go about doing this and arrest her and take her to Puerto Rico. While on the ferry, under police custody, Ava finds a way to escape and get back to the island to continue searching for Derek. She decides to head back to the club and where she finds Manny and confronts him for answers. Manny confesses everything he knows and says he will help Ava find him.

Manny and Ava head to a rough part of the island based on a tattoo she saw on one of the paramedics, the tattoo ends up taking them to a cockfighting ring where Manny helps hunt down the men. She ends up spotting one of the guys and decides to follow him, Ava uses some torture techniques to get answers from him. This guy leads Ava to his brother Omar who was the one who set up the abduction. After Omar gets killed Ava ends up back in police custody and charged with Omar's murder and her husband's disappearance.

Once again Ava elude the police, but this time she decides to use the police, mainly Garza, to get answers. Garza explains that Derek died at the hospital and that he was just covering for the doctor who accidentally killed him. The next day Ava goes to confront the doctor that killed Derek and while she is there she finds out the truth. Ava finds out the Silvio (played by Amaury Nolasco) uses people to treat his rare cancer. After escaping from the hospital Ava, with Silvio as her captive, evades his men and with the help from Manny once again Ava gets away. But Silvio and his men are able to track them down, and Ava will stop at nothing until she gets her revenge for what Silvio did to Derek.

This was a well done movie, the flow of the story was nice and it never seemed to have a slow moment. Carano's action abilities are some of the best for current female martial artists. The story that the writers put together is something that I have seen before but not in any recent films and the fact that the roles were reversed (the woman trying to save the man) made it something different. The cast was excellent group of people, the group really helped make the movie; I could not imagine any other female to be in that role. The action sequences are what really got to me, the realism to the fighting sequences was well done. 
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Formatted in 1080p and presented in 1.85:1 aspect; the quality of the film was excellent. The action sequences were put together very well, and the special effects were very realistic. The quality of the film was to the point where you could make out all the small features on a person's skin and each bloody wound or broken bone looked realistic like the person actually had it happen. The one negative to the quality was the amount of time that they used cell phone video to the storyline and those videos were very grainy and difficult to make anything out.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
On the Blu-ray film the audio was formatted in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and the DVD was formatted in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound effects were very graphic, when someone was punched or kicked as the audience it felt like we were there to experience the contact firsthand. The gunfire also was like the we were right next to them when they fired the gun. The dialogue level was at times a little low or muffled making it difficult to hear what was being said, but that only happened a couple of times. The music that was played was very upbeat and added to the over feeling of the movie. During the action sequences the music was very fast paced to get the audience excited; whereas the music during the other scenes helped build the suspense and kept the film flowing. The mixing of the dialogue, special sound effects, and the music was done well; nothing seemed to over power anything else.
Extras (2 out of 5 stars)
  • Behind the Scenes - This is a 20 minute interview with the stars of the film and the director getting their feelings on the film.
    • Gina Carano discussed shooting on location in Puerto Rico and how much she loved being there. When reading the script and while filming the movie she would try to put her in the shoes of her character to get a real feeling of what it would be like if her husband was missing.
    • John Stockwell (director) talked about how this film made him feel and how it compared to other films similar to it. He also discusses working with Gina Carano and much he enjoyed her as an actress and a person.
    • Stephen Lang talks about his part in the film and how his character helped shape Carano's character. He enjoyed were with Stockwell in the past and respects Carano and her abilities and feels that the cast was excellent and is what makes the film.
    • Luis Guzman enjoyed the fact that he got to come back to his home country and that he gets to play a character with a dark past.
    • Treat Williams plays a role that is trying to figure out what happened to his son because he does believe what he is told.
    • Amaury Nolasco discusses his part in the film as he is the person that everyone wants to know. His character has a hand in everything and is the film's villain, which is a role that he loves to play.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The film was very entertaining and I really liked the cast that was in it. The story to this film has been done before, to an extent. The writer made the story seem fresh and new and with a combination of the action sequences made this film worth while to watch and the quality of this film is worth the price for Blu-Ray. I wish there was more to the extras, the only thing it had was the behind the scenes; I wish they would have added some out takes, deleted scenes, or some of the making of certain scenes. The acting was well done and I really like the cast that they put together, I would definitely watch this film again and I would recommend to anyone who is an action movie junkie.

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