Keanu Reeves takes a lot of heat about being a bad actor. Everyone seems to only remember his days of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," and of course the saying "Whoa" that everyone impersonates. I actually enjoy most of Keanu's movies. I don't think he is the greatest actor in the world, but he seems to make movies that do very well in the box office. "Chain Reaction" is definitely entertaining, despite its flaws. It is not a perfect movie with its plot holes and some cheesy action scenes, but it is fun to watch and a good movie to kick back and relax to.
Eddie (Keanu Reeves) is a college student at the University of Chicago, working as a machinist on a project to find a clean, cheap, alternate energy source using hydrogen. Lily Sinclair (Rachel Weisz) is a physicist on the same team, which is led by Dr. Barkley (Nicholas Rudall) and funded by the inscrutable Paul Shannon (Morgan Freeman). When the team makes a breakthrough on their research by finding the correct frequency to create a stable reaction, they are of course elated. Their hopes are dashed when Dr. Barkley is murdered, the research facility destroyed, and a corrupt team of researchers steals the invention and all their research before Dr. Barkley can post it online for everyone to see. All eyes turn to Eddie and Lily who are being framed as the ones responsible for the murder, theft, and the explosion. They run from the pursing cops and FBI agents, not sure who they can trust and worried about possible betrayal from their team. Soon they are also dodging thugs employed by Collier (Brian Cox), leader of the same group that stole the project. Eddie and Lily have to track down who took the invention, who framed them, and how to make the police believe their innocence...all before their invention is sold to the highest bidder, instead of being released to the world as a free answer to the world's rising pollution and high energy costs.
Director Andrew Davis tries to get across a message. One that he knows is extremely important and you can tell he feels the need to try and get people to understand. He wants us to understand that pollution is on the rise, and if we don't do something about more and more problems will start to occur. He also understands that there is a price to pay for such a high commodity and that it will be a grisly battle between companies to offer it. That is really what "Chain Reaction" is about, the price (In this case, quality of life), that companies will pay to have the key to reducing such a huge problem.
I was actually genuinely surprised by the quality of the release by Fox. You can really tell that they are making a conscious effort to provide good catalog releases. "Chain Reaction" was not just another release pumped out quickly so Fox could make a few bucks, but they really did the opposite. We get some great detail with outstanding flesh tones. The overall picture is quite good, but there is noticeable loss of detail in some of the darker scenes and a good amount of grain. But considering that "Chain Reaction" is over 10 years old, the transfer is done very well.
Besides the transfer, one reason that we loose a bit of quality is that now-a-days everyone is looking for topnotch CG. Unfortunately 10 years ago there wasn't that great of CG. There are some completely obvious green screens that really stand out. Other then that though, the locations they shot at were very nice and extremely detailed. During the only special feature you will found out about the locations that they used and the timing of the shooting...they were shooting during the winter and therefore trying to make the feel more cold and dirty. Overall a good quality transfer that makes for enjoyable viewing.
"Chain Reaction" has a very nice audio track that I actually enjoyed listening it. There are some great action scenes that fill the speakers with good quality sounds. One scene in particular wasn't even an action scene. As Eddie and the team were testing their hydrogen project in a big testing facility, it fills the surrounds quite nicely but with a good amount of lows as well. During the first part of the movie there is mostly dialogue, but as "Chain Reaction" continues the surrounds really start to kick in as thugs and the FBI chase Eddie and Lily. Overall, I was pretty impressed by the ability of good sound to help the flow of the movie.
There is one Blu-Ray exclusive Trivia Track. I actually enjoyed the interesting, fun, and sometimes random facts that come up throughout the movie, but it did cross my find that it was almost a lazy way to do a commentary track. The trivia track goes from facts about the movie, to random history, behind-the-scenes facts, and even actor backgrounds. If you have already seen "Chain Reaction" than this is a fun thing to turn on and pay attention to the movie but at times look to the bottom of the screen and find some fun facts.
Nothing else here except for trailers.
"Chain Reaction" is fun; it has a good amount of dialogue, mixed with some cheesy action scenes, and some pretty good acting. Overall I definitely enjoyed "Chain Reaction." It was good, entertaining and a great flick to watch on a cold night. The video has a nice feel to it, which makes the movie progress well, and the audio helps out with well-rounded sound. There are plenty of reasons to watch "Chain Reaction" and enjoy it, so Rent It, and enjoy it once.