IT'S NOT ANOTHER DAY AT THE BEACH
I have to start this review by stating that I've never seen the first Into the Blue, a 2005 theatrically released adventure film starring Hollywood actors Paul Walker and Jessica Alba. I have some faint impression that it didn't exactly light up the box office, and the website Rotten Tomatoes's critical consensus of 22% fresh suggests it wasn't a darling of reviewers. Still, apparently, 20th Century Fox and MGM felt there were a few more dollars to squeeze from the title, and thus four years later, out drifts this clunker Into the Blue 2: The Reef.
Into the Blue 2: The Reef follows the effervescent diving couple Sebastian and Dani. Their dream is to discover the San Cristobol wreck, but they take out diving anyone who'll pay them some bucks. Played by television actors Laura Vandervoort (Smallville) and Chris Carmack (The O.C.), Sebastian and Dani are an annoying couple - the blurb on the back cover art describes them as "sexy," but they're more like Barbie and Ken dolls come to life. Everything about them, in other words, seems phony and uninvolving. It doesn't help that they have a comic relief couple, Mace and Kimi (yes, that's their names), whose on again off again relationship is supposed to be humorous, living with them.
One day, the ultra-evil Carlton (David Anders, playing a somewhat similar role as he did in the second season of Heroes) and his mysterious martial arts girlfriend Azra (Marsha Thomason) show up claiming they too are looking for the San Cristobol and are willing to pay Sebastian and Dani their going rate to help them look for it. Of course, Carlton and Azra are not really looking for the San Cristobol; instead, they're seeking a couple large containers that were dumped by smugglers upon a reef. And, Carlton claims, there are evildoers who will kill everyone - Carlton, Azra, Sebastian, Dani, and even Kimi and Mace - if these containers are not found.
Into the Blue 2: The Reef is not a good movie. It's not even good by direct-to-video standards. In fact, even in the cable world, this one's a dud. The cardinal sin it commits is that, until the final 30 minutes or so, it's incredibly boring. For someone who "really needs" to find these containers, Carlton is amazingly nonchalant. He hangs out with Sebastian and Dani, eating catered food, drinking fine wine, watching beach volleyball on the shore, and clubbing. Oh, occasionally he'll take a dive with everyone, but the movie develops zero urgency to the proceedings.
Stephen Herek's ham-fisted direction doesn't help matters. He and editor Robin Russell inflict multiple split screen sequences on their viewers and engage in other flimsy contrivances to try to mask the fact that not much is really going on. When the plot, penned by Mitchell Kapner, finally gets going, things seem patently absurd even by action movie standards. One character, for example, needs to be hospitalized and spends a day in a coma, but the moment she awakens, she gets out of bed, exits the hospital, and immediately engages in a marathon running chase.
Ultimately, even if viewers came across this movie on cable, I don't think they would see much that would have kept their attention on that station. Skip it.
20th Century Fox and MGM present Into the Blue 2: The Reef in an anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Colors are exceptionally vibrant throughout, though details could have been stronger.
The lone audio track is an English language Dolby Digital 5.1 production. I don't have any real complaints about it - the dialogue was strong, and the grating music soundtrack replete with generic pop songs pulsed even stronger. Optional subtitles are available in English only.
An ad for the digital copy on other Fox DVDs precedes the main menu (no digital copy on this DVD, though). A Trailers link within the Special Features submenu houses trailers for The Betrayed, Dead Like Me, and Hit and Run.
Movie-specific extras include Get Wet (11:42) and Run for Your Life (6:42), both featurettes that offer behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the movie. As usual for this type of fare, the comments by cast and crew are little more than soundbytes, and there's a lot of footage from the shoot edited in. Back to the Beach Music Video (1:40) has some generic music and shots from the beach volleyball sequence from the film. All three are in anamorphic widescreen, which is a plus, but nothing here is all that memorable.
Into the Blue 2: The Reef probably wouldn't keep your attention if you happened upon it channel-surfing on cable late at night. Skip it.