Chain Reaction

By Deane Barker

It’s amazing to me how filmmakers gloss over things they can’t explain. Apparently they think they can just skim by anything ranging from a small inconsistency to a plot hole big enough to swallow Topeka. When the audience inevitably catches on, things just start to slide downhill.

Such is the case with Chain Reaction.

Keanu Reeves is machinist Eddie Kosalovich. He’s working on a project that makes energy from water. Exactly how this works is never really explained, but it has something to do with sound frequencies and a big fish tank that makes a lot of bubbles.

Kosalovich’s lab explodes one night and takes a big chunk of South Chicago with it (between Twister, ID4, and this film, I don’t know how much more mass destruction this summer can take). Reeves and pretty physicist Lilly Sinclair (Rachel Weisz) get caught in the inevitable frame and they’re off to the races with the FBI in hot pursuit. And, of course, there’s a secret government agency trying to track them down as well – though I’m still not sure why.

Our two pigeons run all over the Great Lakes region getting shot at and generally harassed while they try to figure out what’s going on. The only reason I cared was that I was hoping they could explain it to me. Morgan Freeman shows up from time to time as Kosalovich’s ex-boss who may or may not be trying to kill him.

Reeves does well playing an intense bohemian and Weisz is just coming off a wonderful performance in Stealing Beauty. Thank God the couple are “just friends,” thus saving us from another inane romantic subplot.

Chain Reaction is bought to you by Andrew Davis, director of perhaps the best chase film in history – The Fugitive. With Davis and action film stud Reeves heading up this project, you think it’d be great. Well…it’s not. It’s uninspired at best and boring at worst. The action sequences are timid and since no one really knew what was going on, I didn’t care what happened to anyone. Freeman gives a one-minute speech at the end which is apparently supposed to explain this mess, but I still didn’t quite get it.

While not as bad as Fled, Chain Reaction is a just another chase film that left me sadly unfulfilled.


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