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. I do wish Fox would have done more with this release in terms of extras, but even so, a pretty low price, awesome sound, and a terrific flick make this one well worth the time and effort.
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 a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I think the film looks very good here, but some flaws are present and keep the score down. The image just lacks the total sharpness I had expected, while edge enhancement is often visible as well. The picture looks good though, so don’t think this is a poor effort, it just doesn’t hit the elite standards Fox has pushed itself to of late. The colors look bright and I saw no hints of bleeds, while flesh tones seem normal also. I was pleased with the contrast also, which is well rendered and stark, with dead on black level balance at all times. As I said, this transfer is a little short of the usual Fox releases, but it still looks terrific and deserves a good score.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release houses 5.1 surround options in both Dolby Digital and DTS forms, which means both camps should be pleased here. I found both tracks to be very, very good, but in the end, the DTS offers a richer, more textured experience. The bass seems tighter, the surrounds are crisper, and I don’t mean by a little either, the DTS option is much superior in this case. But both choices have a lot of punch, thanks to great mixing work and some dynamic source material, you won’t be let down in either instance. 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 disc also includes 2.0 surround tracks in English and French, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes two television spots, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.