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Into the Blue (3/10)

by Tony Medley

Sometimes when I see an inferior movie, I just get upset. Other times I feel sorry for all the work and effort that was wasted. The latter describes my feeling leaving “Into the Blue,” although that doesn’t mean I wasn’t upset.

It seemed to me that there were only two actors in the entire film who could have qualified for a SAG card, Josh Brolin, who plays the bad guy, Bates, and Paul Walker, who plays the protagonist, Jared. The others are so bad it’s embarrassing.  However, as I’ve said before, when the script (Matt Johnson, from whom more should have been expected after his debut, “Torque,” 2004) is banal, it’s hard to tell the quality of the actors who are forced to mutter such bromidic tripe as Jessica Alba (Sam), “I believe in you more than the pursuit of any treasure.” Even though the line is trite, I can’t help but think that Bette Davis would have been able to spit it out with more oomph than the inept Ms. Alba. Poor Walker, forced to emote with the likes of Alba and Scott Caan (Bryce), who is trying to portray a lawyer with flaws, and Ashley Scott (Amanda), Bryce’s defective girl friend. Caan’s got the flaws down, anyway. Also coming in for censure is whoever did the casting, because this could have been entertaining.

Jared, who doesn’t have any visible means of support, leads his three friends on an expedition during which they find and old Spanish Galleon loaded with gold. They also find an airplane full of cocaine, which causes lots of problems, not the least of which is the bad guys who claim the cocaine is theirs. This is intended to bring out the venality in Amanda, the stupidity in Bryce, the integrity in Sam and the disgust in Jared. Unfortunately, given the deficiencies of the people playing the roles, the emotions of the first three are so contrived that only the disgust of Jared is real, and that’s probably not acting because anyone watching this film would be disgusted at the performances of Bryce, Alba, and Scott.

But all the blame can’t be laid on the actors’ shoulders. Director John Stockwell and Director of Photography Shane Hurlbut have to share the blame. Even though Scott and Alba spend most of the film in skimpy bikinis, the film is bereft of sensuality and titillation. There are some pretty scenes of the ocean and sharks, and Brolin is very good. Other than that, this is a waste.

October 1, 2005