Let's face it. Anyone who purchases a movie ticket for "Into the Blue" isn't going to the film in search of an Academy Award winning performance from Jessica Alba or Paul Walker. I'm not convinced that such a thing will ever be witnessed. If you buy a ticket, you are looking for one thing; T & A or P& A, depending on your preference of the two stars. The poster says it all. "Blue" is an excuse to get two beautiful people into as little clothing as possible for close to two hours. And the film succeeds, almost admirably. God bless director John Stockwell ("Blue Crush", "crazy/ beautiful") for all of the shots of Alba and Walker swimming through the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas, letting Alba's barely covered backside or Walker's admirable pecs undulate (yes, undulate!) past the camera.
Is there a story? Or just 110 minutes of eye candy? Yes, there is a story.
Jared (Walker, "The Fast and the Furious", "Timeline") and Sam (Jessica Alba, "Sin City", "Fantastic Four") are two beautiful people living in the Bahamas on a broken down boat. Jared just lost his job as a snorkel guide and Sam works at a local tourist stop as an announcer at a dolphin show. One of Jared's buddies, Bryce (Scott Caan) brings his latest girlfriend, Amanda (Ashley Scott) for a vacation from New York. Bryce has the use of an exclusive estate and the boat that comes along with it. This gives Jared the opportunity to explore for the mythical ship wreck, the Zephyr. He believes that a recent hurricane may have disturbed the sand on the ocean floor enough to help find it. Just as they think they have found it, they also find a plane that was downed in the same storm, a plane filled with kilos of cocaine. Jared insists that they leave it alone until they find the necessary proof of the shipwreck, but the greedy visitors from New York have other ideas, threatening everyone's safety.
"Blue" has some of the most beautiful cinematography I have seen in a long time, a significant portion of which is underwater and appears to have been done without special effects. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the film is set in the Bahamas. The island is captured in crystal clear photography and makes a great tourism brochure. A significant amount of the film is underwater and the photography here is also stunning. Every time Alba and Walker swim past the camera... But I digress... Usually, when a film has a lot of underwater action, it is difficult to keep track of what is going on, but "Blue" is remarkably clear. For the most part, the four central characters are underwater together, making it easy to follow the action.
The story is intriguing enough to keep your mind going as well. Jared has specific reasons for wanting to continue the search for the shipwreck as opposed to reporting the plane crash right away. Once the villains do find out, the story becomes a bit more intriguing and it is interesting to watch Jared and Sam work their way through the mess.
Unfortunately, any film is going to require Alba and Walker to act. Alba is a better actor than Walker, but not by much. She is able to illicit some sort of emotion during a couple of scenes, no matter how superficial. Walker seems to have three facial expressions; happy, with a grin a mile wide, sexy and serious, which also stands in for his frightened look. He's a guy, so if he is frightened, he is also serious. But when you look as good as Alba and Walker, who cares if you can act. No one expects them to give DeNiro and Streep a run for their money at the next (or any) Academy Awards. You go to see them because you are infatuated with their looks. Period. "Blue" at least feeds into this infatuation quite well, allowing their groupies to see as much of their bodies as possible in a PG-13 film.
The other actors are less successful. Less successful than Alba and Walker? Wow, that's pretty bad. And they don't have the bodies to make up for their lack of acting skill. Josh Brolin plays Bates, Jared's former boss and the owner of a much bigger salvage operation. Brolin is now so typecast that there is simply no surprise anymore. Any time he pops up, you know he will play the jilted former lover or the double crossing backstabber. He needs to branch out and play someone else. James Frain is perhaps the most memorable of the supporting characters. He has a brief, but memorable turn as the owner of all of that submerged cocaine. Tyson, the model, has a brief supporting role as the owner of a packed nightclub.
Scott Caan and Ashley Scott play stereotypical New Yorkers. Caan's Bryce is a lawyer who represents people with questionable motives. He works hard and he plays hard and isn't above saying things like "We could sell the cocaine and get enough money for your salvage operation" or "There's enough cocaine down there to buy one hundred boats." He also brings along Amanda (Scott), someone he has known for 14 hours. Yawn! Excuse me a moment while I wipe the sleep out of my eyes.
Not that anyone should expect "Blue" to be a hyper-realistic portrait of anything, but the characters act with an off-putting nonchalance when one member of their group is seriously injured. This attitude almost derails the entire film until you reground yourself and realize `Oh, yeah, I'm watching a comic book" A comic book featuring two of the most stunning examples of human flesh anywhere.
The star is for the actual film. The other two stars are a thank you gift for all of the shots of Alba and Walker swimming through crystal clear water.
But I digress.