Gina Carano has been parlaying her credibility as an MMA and Muay Thai fighter into a career as an action star for several years now, and since making her feature-film debut in Steven Soderbergh's Haywire, she's had a very nice string of roles. She landed a supporting role in Fast & Furious 6, and she even had a memorable villainous turn in Deadpool (in which she did a superhero landing) last year. Now she's back headlining films again with the sci-fi western Scorched Earth.
Directed by Peter Howitt (Sliding Doors), the film's premise is set off by a very recognizable sci-fi conceit: Sometime in the very near future, an environmental cataclysm called the "Cloudfall" will kill billions of people, pollute the air, and turn the Earth into a veritable wasteland. The few survivors will try and form some kind of crude new society from what's left of the world. Where Scorched Earth departs from that is in imagining this society as a kind of wild west, complete with horses and cowboy hats, in which bounty hunters roam the wasteland in search of outlaws.
One such bounty hunter is Attica Gage (Carano), whose life changes when she's challenged to bring in the most feared outlaw in the land, Elijah Jackson. On a quest to prove herself, she'll meet Jackson's victims, and perhaps find a little more hope in a hopeless world.
Sure, that might sound a bit predictable, but where Scorched Earth sets itself apart is the action. There's plenty of western spectacle to be had, but there are also martial arts, a machine gun mounted on a truck, and the best part: a crossbow that shoots dynamite. If the rest of the film is as fun as the trailer, it could be a very cool ride.
Scorched Earth arrives in theaters, On Demand, and on digital HD simultaneously on Feb. 2.