Into the Blue

Into the Blue is laughable in a lumbering and boring way, an outrageously overlong scuba adventure without a single intelligent character, plot point or line of dialogue. It’s a disappointment after director John Stockwell’s generally thoughtful Blue Crush, an entertaining surfer girl movie that had a real sense of perspective and a strong script co-written by Stockwell himself. I’m always looking for genre film wizards, and I liked the idea of Stockwell going back into the water; too bad his new project is one miscalculation after another.

Miscalculation number one, as usual, is Paul Walker, who remains the single most inexpressive actor with his name above the title these days. I hope that whoever first decided to put him on screen is still around to see what he hath wrought. I am reasonably certain that I will soon commence a boycott of anything in which he appears; he’s simply such a non-actor that it offends my sensibilities as a moviegoer. What is he doing here? Why am I watching him? I hadn’t paid for the movie, but I felt ripped off.

Throw Jessica Alba into the mix, and the production becomes downright amateurish. At one point, Alba has to stare longingly into Walker’s eyes and announce, “I believe in you more than in the prospect of any treasure.” It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. I laughed out loud — not because it was necessarily all that funny, but because of the astounding lack of talent on display. Then again, I suppose you can’t argue with Alba’s bikini.

I’m not being fair. I am sure my objections to the two lead performances would have been mitigated considerably, if not eliminated altogether, had Into the Blue told me a good story. That’s all I ever need. Unfortunately, it’s moronic: contrived to the point of viewer apoplexy — they find a sunken treasure ship and an airplane full of cocaine at the same time, you see, and so the moral dilemma is, should they use the illicit plunder from one to finance digging up the other… — told gracelessly, backloaded with an action scene that goes on absolutely forever without generating a hint of excitement.

Two participants escape from this with some respectability intact, and they are Scott Caan and Josh Brolin, the former playing a sleazy but lovable corporate lawyer, and the latter chewing scenery as an unscrupulous “treasure-finder.” At the very least, they radiate personality, which is something the rest of the movie utterly lacks; Caan, in particular, is a smart and charismatic actor who does everything possible with the dialogue he’s been given. His character, who’s really a sidekick when all is said and done, is equal parts despicable and loyal, and somehow it’s pretty much the only thing in Into the Blue that even begins to work. Brolin, to his credit, is a mlidly amusing oasis in the midst of a dead zone.

I must say more about the climax, which just goes on and on and on until you look at your watch in desperation only to discover that according to the official running time there’s still ten whole minutes to go. Stockwell manifestly needed some help with this; he’s got frenetic action going on in several different locations, and it’s cut together without a clue. There’s no significance to anything that happens, as nothing is distinguishable from anything else in tone or emphasis; the sequence isn’t particularly coherent to begin with, and it’s so lengthy and monotonous that I got tired of trying to figure it out. I don’t suppose, however, that it’s any worse than the rest of Into the Blue, which is dreary, idiotic, and not becoming of Stockwell, whose Cheaters and Blue Crush were fine entertainments.

 

Seeking in movies meaning and reflection in real-time. On the look out for biography, thriller & drama best pieces.

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