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Film review: ‘In the Blood’ thrives on action, not words

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Former MMA fighter Gina Carano shows her chops in In the Blood.

Two and a half stars

In the Blood Gina Carano, Cam Gigandet, Ismael Cruz Cordova. Directed by John Stockwell. Rated R. Opens Friday; also available on VOD.

Steven Soderbergh knew exactly what he was doing when he anointed MMA fighter Gina Carano an action star in 2012’s Haywire, but other directors have had a tougher time making use of her talents. Carano is front and center in John Stockwell’s thriller In the Blood, and while she’s still a top-notch fighter (an early scene of her taking down sleazy dudes in a nightclub is a highlight), she’s got a ways to go as an actor. Blood is a gender-reversed take on a typical action-movie setup, with Carano’s Ava tracking down the people who kidnapped her husband (Cam Gigandet) on their tropical honeymoon. Carano has trouble selling her character’s anguish, and it doesn’t help that the plot gets more ridiculous and convoluted as the movie progresses. Whenever she’s kicking ass, she’s a thrill to watch, but neither her performance nor the writing can hold the rest of the movie together.

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