Monday, October 03, 2005

REVIEW: Into the Blue

This movie has a fantastic ending. I'm serious. Pretty girls wielding machetes, bullets, spear-guns, explosions, mass-murder, surprise-villians, scuba-combat, boat chases and even frenzied shark attacks... it ends up reading like one of Joe Bob Briggs' famous checklists. If a giant squid had turned up, it would've fit right in (and, now that we've confirmed their existance, there's really no excuse left not to have a giant squid in your ocean movie.) Yes, let it be said that the last 10-15 minutes of "Into the Blue" are some of the best lets-just-go-nuts action you can get at the movies right now.

Unfortunately, that last 10-15 minutes are preceeded by nearly an hour and twenty minutes of a really, really bad movie.

Let's face facts about something: Scuba diving is fun to do. It's a challenge, it's the closest thing you can get to visiting another world without actually doing so, and so forth. However, scuba diving is not fun to watch unless those doing so are involved in some kind of struggle or are narrating about the various sea life around them... and even then the results are often iffy. This is one of those movie-laws that professional filmmakers are supposed to know before their making movies at this budget, but for some reason "Into the Blue" elects to be comprised almost entirely of scuba diving. In the same basic area. By the same basic people. Over and over again. To the sound of generic caribbean/techno music.

Generically-attractive Jessica Alba and Paul Walker topline as a cheerfully working-class pair of would-be treasure hunters in the Bahamas, who are shown to be poverty-stricken on an almost Dickensian level but apparently able to afford the very best in weight-training and beauty products. They both have the respective physiques of Grecian marble statues, of course, but also said statues personality and emotive range.

Most of the film concerns long, endless scenes in which the underwater-cinematographer pans around perpetually-bikini'd Alba as she writhes around in the open sea in an apparent attempt to prove that even breasts can get old fast if nothing is going on in the movie. In between this, the "plot" unravels as Walker's ne'er-do-well pal (Scott Caan) and his shallow galpal join Our Heroes on a dive for sunken treasure that ALSO turns up a recently-submerged plane carrying a fortune in coccaine.

Thus arises someone's idea of a profound moral dilema: Will Walker, who's so The Good Guy that we earlier see him reject work with professional divers because he despises their ecological-unfriendliness, listen to his pal and sell the coke to finance the excavation of the legendary treasure-ship he's sure is right nearby? Or will he heed the dire warnings of Alba, evidently the single most moral righteous beach bunny since Gidget, that drugs are bad? And, why yes, a bland not-Scarface drug kingpin and his henchmen are involved, too.

So, to recap: For 90 minutes a pair of bland actors conduct an underwater photo-shoot, then one of the main cast gets munched by a shark and something resembling a decent movie breaks loose. Along the way we learn that greed is bad, that drugs are worse and that money doesn't buy happiness.

There's nothing to see here but Alba's celebrated cleavage, and that you can see by renting "Sin City." And thats a better movie anyway, so skip this.