Into the Blue

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This is easily the best Jessica Alba movie I’ve seen this week. Since the only competition was the underwhelming Fantastic Four, that wasn’t exactly a major hurdle, but unlike the misfired superhero flick, Into The Blue manages to hit exactly the target it was aiming at. It’s an expertly handled thriller than makes maximum use of its Caribbean locations and the physical charms of its actors. Every one of the four leads is pretty, so whatever your gender or orientation, there is something nice to look at.

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Jared (Paul Walker) is an out-of-work dive instructor in the Bahamas with dreams of being a deep sea treasure hunter. Unfortunately his boat is less seaworthy than Titanic after the iceberg. Sam (Jessica Alba) is one of those perfect movie girlfriends that remains totally devoted to her man despite his lack of a job, money or any realistic ambitions. She also gets more than her money’s worth out of a bikini.

Jared’s best friend, Bryce (Scott Caan) comes to the Bahamas. He is a slick Miami lawyer with drug lords for clients. Tagging along is Amanda (Ashley Scott), a girl he met only hours before. One of Bryce’s clients has paid his fee by letting them use his house, including a boat that actually floats. Jared and Sam take their guests treasure diving. They find a few curious relics that might be from a legendary pirate ship and, oh yes, a plane wreck filled with cocaine.

Bryce and Amanda have ideas about what to do with the cocaine, but Jared wants no part of it but won’t report the plane wreck either, since the recovery operation might expose their find and jeopardize their claim to the ship wreck.

Their cash-strapped operation doesn’t have the means to bring up the treasure on their own, but the cocaine would solve those problems overnight. Jared resists the temptation until Bryce takes matters into his own hands, putting all four of them in the lethal path of the coke’s original owners.

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Clicking along at a brisk pace, the plot uses smart writing instead of mindless pyrotechnics and action to move itself forward. No one is required to act like an idiot to get into trouble or violate the laws of physics to get out of it. It might seem like the heroes are holding their breath for incredible lengths of time, but I’m told that real freedivers can stay underwater for three or four minutes at a time.

The story doesn’t ask too much of its actors and all of the leads appear comfortable within their roles. Ms. Alba is much better utilized here after being miscast in Fantastic Four. No one is going to win any Oscars here but no one is going to be ashamed to have this movie on their resume either.

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