Reviews

Into the Blue

By Garth Franklin
Into the Blue

Having survived many months on the shelf, numerous delays, and a studio collapse, "Into the Blue" finally swims into theatres though maybe it wasn't worth holding one's breath for. Admittedly the marketing of this movie has been very forward about precisely what the film is - some beauty shots of pretty young things in wet swim wear interspersed with a loose remake of the likes of "The Deep" and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre".

No Jacqueline Bisset in a wet t-shirt can be seen in this one though, rather its the toned and tanned bodies of the likes of Jessica Alba, Paul Walker, Scott Caan and Ashley Scott who essentially serve as the film's key characters. Not the greatest example of a talent pool to be sure but these roles are more about the physical than anything else and on that front they acquit themselves fine, each looking like they've been diving for years and know their stuff.

Stockwell's direction of the action scenes on and under the water are well done (especially towards the end) and move forward with a fast pacing, but he languishes when he hits the rougher waters of Matt Johnson's awful B-movie screenplay with its hokey characters who make unbelievably stupid decisions which lead to rather ridiculous setups. The story has all the weight of Stockwell's last effort "Blue Crush", but that at least had some fun crowd pleasing humour and enjoyable spirited work from its female trio - nothing that fresh can be dug up here.

Where "Blue" sparkles is under the sea. Shane Hurlbut's cinematography delivers some quite beautiful underwater photography effectively showing off lots of marine life (including sharks in most shots), a couple of great trick shots (look for a perspective dizzying upside down underwater cave shot early on) and usually quite clearly conveying who is who and what's going on despite people's faces often being obscured by masks, sand or fauna.

Generous long underwater shots are also made of leading stars Alba and Walker whose taut and terrific bodies, though covered in swim wear, get thoroughly covered over and over again by the camera. Indeed during the plane wreck exploration sequence for example, in the space of five seconds you not only get a shot of Alba's cleavage entirely filling the cinema screen but mere seconds later Walker glides by in board shorts tight enough to dispell any doubt about all the rumours that he is hung like a horse.

Sadly the long below surface scenes where we can see these stunners gliding and rushing around without having to hear them are interspersed with too much above water hokey B-movie antics. The first half is just dull setup, the second cheeseball action. The ultimate result is a dumb fun flick that's not exactly awful, just flashy and stupid. What you see in this case is really all that you get.

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