In a way, “Into The Blue,” starring Paul Walker’s abs and Jessica Alba’s ass, is brilliant. What, the twisted storyline? The cutting-edge editing? The crisp, involving performances? No, no A– the film avoids competence in such traditional avenues. Instead, “Into The Blue” scores high marks in general contrivance. Blame producers Rick Dallago and Daniel Zevon: Aware they would have to cram mannequins into lead roles, they sought out a concept with minimal dialogue for the two to bungle. Imagine it:

Film Reviews
Pretty people making out; no need for a plot.
(Courtesy of MGM)

Studio Head: We need a new one for Walker and Alba, and keep it short on the dialogue.

Screenwriter: OK, check this out – they’re mentally deficient lovers! No, wait – Alba’s deaf, and they communicate through sign language! OK, now I’ve really got it – they’re underwater!

Studio Head: Brilliant! Now we can get Alba in a bikini!

With this as his starting point, director John Stockwell (“Blue Crush”) brings us yet another hair-raising nautical adventure.

This time, we’re in the Bahamas. Walker is Jared – a failed treasure hunter – and Alba plays Sam – the reluctant but loyal girlfriend. Jared’s lawyer friend Bryce (Scott Caan, “Boiler Room”) rolls into town with new girlfriend Amanda (Ashley Scott, “S.W.A.T.”) to stake claim on a house and boat won in a settlement. Before we know it, the guys are doing 360s on jet-skis and dropping “bro’s” like it’s written into Bahamian law as a vocal period.

During a subsequent snorkel trip, the foursome discover both a sunken drug-smuggling plane filled to the brim with white gold and the remains of the Zephyr, a 17th century pirate ship. Hence the dilemma: Should Jared traffic the drugs in order to buy equipment and fulfill his dream of uncovering a treasure? Or should he do the right thing?

Like the railroad-car-off-the-edge-of-the-cliff scene in “Back To The Future III,” this is the point of no return. Viewers willing to accept the fact that Jared, who has dedicated a majority of his life to treasure hunting with absolutely no success, stumbles upon both a drug dealer’s cargo and an ancient pirate ship in the same day, 100 yards apart, can continue. Otherwise, exit here – it only gets worse.

When Bryce goes behind Jared’s back to move the cocaine, he inadvertently attempts to sell it back to its owner, a British guy who says soccer and refers to the ocean as “The Octopus’s Garden.”

And it just gets more convoluted: Jared attempts to retrieve the coke, Sam leaves, Amanda gets eaten by a shark and no one cares. Then Sam comes back, a car chase, a shootout, more shark attacks, spears/axes, chopped-off fingers and a boat chase abound. There’s enough time left over for the underwater explosion, jazz hands and happy ending.

While Alba tightens her death grip on the “hottest-chick-in-the-biz” championship belt, the utterly forgettable “Into The Blue” will do wonders to wash away that “Sin City” buzz. And while she’s still most likely on her way to the upper echelon of Hollywood actresses, “Into The Blue” will serve as a stark reminder of just how bad she can be. As for Walker, it’s sudden-death time; the next hyped-up debacle might well be his last.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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