Anchor Bay Entertainment brings 2 new action/thrillers from some of Hollywood’s newest action stars to home video with “Fast Five” and MMA star Gina Carano’s “In the Blood” and “Game of Thrones” and “Conan” (the remake) star Jason Momoa’s Road to Paloma. Both films back up our stars with recognizable supporting casts and promise a lot of action, but can they deliver a story beyond the fists?
“In The Blood” marks the second time Gina Carano has been the main star of a film after headlining the Steven Soderbergh 2011 film “Haywire” and Carano seems to be finding her niche in front of the camera. A no nonsense type of girl with a violent past, raised by a survival fanatic father played by “Avatar’s” Stephen Lang, Carano’s Ava is not afraid to let her fists do the talking, much to the surprise of her newlywed husband (Cam Gigandet). After her husband disappears, she goes on a one woman crusade to find his whereabouts, breaking 100’s of body parts along the way.
In the Blood is a fun action film, with some ridiculous twists and some very sloppy writing at parts that gets sillier as the film goes along, but is filled with some top notch fighting. Add in genre legends Danny Trejo, Treat Williams and Luis Guzman for supporting roles with “Prison Breaks’s” Amaury Nolasco as the picture’s big baddie and what results is a fun romp through the Caribbean. Carano’s leads the film with a confidence that was only evident in parts of Haywire, showing that she may be developing into the kick ass leading female action star Hollywood has wished she could be. The disc contains only 1 small special feature but the action is shot very well and the story never wains, and at around $20 new, In the Blood is a fairly solid investment.
“Road to Paloma” carries more of a personal investment for star Momoa in that he co-wrote, with co-star Robert Homer Mollohan, and made the film his directorial debut. The story of a Native American known simply as Wolf, who sought his own brand of justice after the murder of his mother, and his winding trip through native land to say goodbye to all he loves while being tracked by a vicious FBI agent, only concerned with bringing him down.
Also featuring a stellar supporting cast that includes Wes Studi as his father, Sarah Shahi as his sister, real life wife Lisa Bonet as a love interest and Timothy V. Murphy as the man tracking him down, Road to Paloma packs a more dramatic punch than what would be first expected. The action sequnces are few and far between in what becomes a more brooding and desperate trip across country in desperate attempt to disappear into the back country. Momoa does a decent job with the dramatic endeavours, helped greatly by his supporting cast, minus a flighty and uneven performance from co-writer Mollohan, as Bonet, Shahi, Murphy and Micheal Raymond-James as Wolf’s brother-in-law all deliver excellent performances. Momoa’s is a smart enough director to frame the action that does happen well and use the strong supporting characters to do the heavy lifting. The disc also only carries 1 special feature, but the film is a solid directorial debut that is worth the effort in the end.
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Opening tomorrow in theaters is the latest blood drenched opus from Robert Rodriguez‘s grindhouse fascination, and sequel to the original “Grindhouse” movie spinoff “Machete”, Machete Kills. Here to tell us all about his love for the Machete madness is friend of the site and proprietor of GMan Reviews Andrew Robinson.
With the first film I found myself completely and utterly disappointed and I feel it was from a place of lost expectations. A film, based on a joke that was initially meant only to be that encapsulated by a (roughly) two minute trailer, where they decided to do that very narrative promised in the trailer felt like the epitomy of the “all the best parts were in the trailer” complaint that many film fans love to lob at these big dumb films. However, far away from that production process, starting anew Machete Kills has it’s own slew of dumb action gags that are ripe for joyous film lovers to dig deep into. (more…)