Into the Blue (2005) / Adventure-Action

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence, language and sexuality (I'd rate it R)
Running Time: 110 min.

Cast: Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Scott Caan, Ashley Scott, Josh Brolin, James Frain, Tyson Beckford
Director: John Stockwell
Screenplay: Matt Johnson
Review published October 3, 2005

Jessica Alba in a bikini. 

These five words pretty much sum up the one thing that Into the Blue has going for it, although if you're into men, I suppose that "Paul Walker in a speedo" might also suffice.  Regardless of your attraction to the film, a few minutes of eye candy doesn't merit almost two hours of boring plot permutations and silly dialogue to sit through, so the best advice I can give is to watch the trailer for the cheap thrills you're after and save yourself the time and money.

Walker (Timeline, 2 Fast 2 Furious) stars as Jared, a sea-loving man approaching his thirties without much to show for his underwater explorations other than the love of his hot babe girlfriend, Sam (Alba, Fantastic Four).  Jared's brother Bryce (Caan, Ocean's Twelve) turns up to visit, along with his latest squeeze, Amanda (Scott, SWAT), and together, the quartet spend their days in the tropical paradise snorkeling and carousing until dawn.  Jared's dream of finding a sunken treasure ship come to life when he uncovers what looks to be the remains of a famed pirate ship, the Zephyr, and in the same day, he also finds the downed cargo plane ostensibly carrying hundreds of kilos of cocaine.  Knowing that there will be many combing the area for the airplane, Jared must find a way to get enough money to fund additional underwater research, without drawing the suspicions of local treasure hunters, the authorities, and the seedy underworld types that were expecting their shipment of blow.

Before I get into what is obviously a negative review, I do feel the need to mention one other of the film's assets, and that is the gorgeous cinematography, both on land (Shane Hurlbut, Mr. 3000) and underwater (Peter Zuccarini).  In particular, Zuccarini's gorgeous work on the ocean floor alone would probably make for a worthy experience, if only it weren't mucked up with the story elements to distract us.  Just as Zuccarini provides the best non-Alba parts of Into the Blue, so did he provide the best non-Hayek parts of After the Sunset, which happens to be a very similar movie for an entirely different demographic.  A shame that such pretty pictures have to go to waste in movies most people will likely avoid.

Speaking of repeat performances, not only is this director John Stockwell's second oceanic film in a row, but also the second to feature "blue" in the title, coming off of the sleeper surfing movie, Blue Crush.  Stockwell knows how to film in the water, except he relies too much on the Blue Crush formula to get from point A to B, filling up precious screen time with undulating bodies and hard-hitting music in place of where much-needed character development should be.  I suppose it's difficult to fault the director for lacking adequate emphasis on dialogue, as Walker and Alba don't exactly light up the screen with engaging performances, but it sure would go a long way to making us give a damn about them once the roller coaster ride gets underway.

Unless you're a voyeur that finds endless pleasure in pretending you're underwater swimming behind Alba and her not-too-modest bikini bottoms, there's really not much here but lots of noise and a convoluted plot that could only work when every character involved is a complete idiot (Hmmm...Walker and Alba might be perfectly cast here after all).  Too many bad guys (including some hungry sharks) spoil this broth, and when you spend half of the film hoping that smarmy Scott Caan will finally meet a grisly, graphic death for our viewing pleasure, you realize that there's just little rooting interest in a story that should have us riveted with intrigue. 

I'm all for Jessica Alba doing "blue movies", but Into the Blue isn't really what I had in mind.

Qwipster's rating:

2005 Vince Leo