This weeks Under the Radar is the Gina Carano edition as we take a look at two of the former MMA athlete’s forays into the film industry with Haywire and In the Blood. Both films were bought brand new from Poundland on Blu Ray! First and foremost how ace a deal was that? and secondly how good are the films?
Haywire (Dir. Steven Soderbergh, 2011)
Gina Carano made her film debut in a cameo appearance in the action film Blood and Bone but her first lead role was given to her by Steven Soderbergh in one of his last big screen films. Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a former marine who works for a private contractor that specialises in special ops. Mallory takes on two last jobs for the firm she works for, one in Barcelona and a second in Ireland. However when the two jobs become unexpectedly linked she must fight alone to find out who is responsible for trying to frame and kill her.
At the end of the box office run of Haywire it had a final gross of around $33 million, which for a film in January isn’t too bad but considering the general success of spy/government thrillers it could have done better. The fact it wasn’t a bigger financial success is a shame because its a very good film, though it is understandable. With Haywire Steven Soderbergh and Lem Dobbs crafted a mould defying spy film that doesn’t attempt to dumb down it’s story or events. It has an incredibly solid cast consisting the likes of Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum and Bill Paxton amongst others. Carano also makes a decent debut for somebody with no acting experience, but her action scene abilities are absolutely outstanding. With a smooth score by David Holmes and some blistering fight scenes that would not be out of place in The Raid films, Haywire becomes a great streamlined film that plays outside the conventions of your standard spy film. Not to mention the cinematography is beautiful, with some lush colours and shots that differentiate places and events. If you fancy something a bit different with a bit of class, get involved with Haywire.
In the Blood (Dir. John Stockwell, 2014)
In the Blood follows newly weds Ava and Derek Grant who are are going for their honeymoon in the Caribbean. After soaking up some of the local sights and enjoying the attractions, they are invited by an native islander called Manny to go with him to a night club and try the islands zip lines. After a tragic accident at the zip lines which leaves Derek unconscious with a broken leg he is rushed to hospital. However upon Ava getting to the hospital where Derek was supposed to be taken she finds he is nowhere to be found, and after trawling the islands other medical facilities she soon realises he has been abducted. With no leads as to his whereabouts Ava must use all of the brutal skills she was mercilessly trained by her father to find Derek and bring normality back to their lives.
In the Blood was a VOD/home media release and never made its way to the cinema. To be honest it isn’t a surprise it never got the silver screen but it does have a number of qualities that make it a decent watch, and it is certainly a better film than most other straight to DVD releases that get churned out, especially Steven Seagal ones! The biggest issue with the film is its plot, it isn’t terrible but meanders too much and is a bit weak, especially in the final act. It also happens to be another film where some white holiday makers find themselves at the mercy of some foreign criminals, which is frankly a wider issue with the american film industry as opposed to the film itself, but it can also be at fault for continuing such an overused theme. On the positive side Gina Carano demonstrates a remarkable growth in her acting from Haywire as she goes through more emotional scenes which require more than just ass kicking. With a few more films under her belt Carano can become quite the prominent figure for strong female characters in film. With an role in the upcoming Deadpool things are looking very good for her film future. Though when it comes to ass kicking Gina always excels, and there’s a few brutal fates for the various henchman she has to get through and her performance certainly enhances the film. Overall the film, if a little unremarkable is decent, and if you enjoy your standard straight to DVD fare then look no further than this.
That is it for now, if you’ve seen either film already let us know what you thought and we’ll be back soon for another edition of Under the Radar.
Check out our previous Under the Radar piece here, where we watched The Rocker and Revenger for Jolly!