Chain Reaction (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Eddie Kasalivich (Keanu Reeves) was a student at the University of Chicago, but now he is right in the middle of a massive conspiracy plot, one that has him framed for an act of immense devastation. You see, Eddie was also part of a special team that strove to develop an alternative energy source, one that could much better serve our needs. After some time, the team was able to produce a low cost, low pollution energy source and of course, that means some shady folks would love to gain control of the source invention. This is just what happens soon and that’s when Eddie’s problems really start, as his lab is demolished, the head of research killed, and the precious invention stolen. All the signs point toward Eddie and while he is innocent, he has no choice but to make a run for it, with fellow researcher Lily Sinclair (Rachel Weisz) by his side. Now the two must track down the device, find out who is behind the conspiracy, and clear their own names, all before someone gets to them first…

This movie has more plot holes than you shake a stick at, but in the end, it is a terrific action flick with some great moments. Andrew Davis directs and does so very well, using a quick pace and loads of tension to keep us entertained. Yes, I realize that you have to overlook a lot here, but come on people, this is an action movie and that’s to be expected. Even more realistic action flicks demand some suspension of disbelief, so I won’t hammer Chain Reaction in this case. In any case, the cool visuals and well executed action scenes provide a nice distraction from the story, which is often what makes some of the most entertaining action pictures, to be honest. The stunts are well planned and come across in fine form, even some well done computer graphic work is done to enhance some sequences. The cast includes Keanu Reeves, Morgan Freeman, and Rachel Weisz, who all turn in more than adequate performances here. This Blu-ray version boasts superior visuals and sound, and trades two television spots for a trivia track, so for fans, an upgrade is probably justified.

An action movie like this one often has plot holes and such, but in this case, you’ll never notice unless you want to. The pace is so quick and the action so brisk, I was just trying to soak it all in and that left little time to nitpick over plot details, to be sure. I think this works to perfection in this case and I think the man to be commended is director Andrew Davis, who knows how to helm an action flick, I assure you. Davis seems to know the storyline is filled with small holes and mistakes, so he pours on the action and visuals, to keep our minds off the flaws. I’d say that was the perfect approach for Chain Reaction and in the end, it works out very well. I like how Davis puts the focus on the actors and action, instead of trying to force a storyline or what not, as some action directors tend to do. Other films directed by Andrew Davis include The Fugitive, Code of Silence, Under Siege, Steal Little Steal Big, and Above the Law. The cast here includes Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, The Watcher), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, Seven), Rachel Weisz (The Mummy Returns, Sunshine), and Fred Ward (Tremors, Thunderheart).

Video: How does it look?

Chain Reaction is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I wasn’t thriller with the transfer found on the standard edition and while this new transfer is better, it also retains the flaws. And since this is a higher resolution, those flaws are often magnified and that isn’t good news. The image is a little sharper and detail is more impressive, but the movie has a soft visual presence, intentional or not. So no, this won’t dazzle your eyes, but it looks more refined than the standard version, to be sure. I do think the black levels and colors look terrific however, so no complaints there. In the end, this is a passable transfer. The visuals look good, but the standard is so high now, passable is usually a disappointment.

Audio: How does it sound?

The standard version had a very impressive DTS soundtrack, but the DTS HD option found here does all that track did, only even better. As before, the surrounds are used often and with powerful ends, in terms of sound effects and the solid musical score as well. No bones to pick with the dialogue either, all the words come through loud and clear from start to finish. This time around however, the bass is deeper, the surrounds seem more dynamic, and the overall experience is more immersive. So more power, more depth, and more presence, which is all great news. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a trivia track, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.

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