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Into the Blue 2: The Reef (2009) Print E-mail
Monday, 13 April 2009
Image"Into the Blue" was released in 2005 and became a classic beach action film.  It was not well received in the film critic world.  However, for a simple summer thrill film it was more than adequate.  Plus, who can forget the sight of Jessica Alba tanned and in a skimpy bikini?  Well, it seems as though Hollywood cannot resist making a sultry sequel.  Along the way the film became destined for a direct-to-video release only.

Sony made the original film, but it looks like 20th Century Fox has taken the rights for the video sequel.  Unfortunately, the film doesn't live up to the meager expectations set by the original.  The girls are extremely hot but that is about the extent of what the film has to offer.

Like most direct-to-video sequels, the film uses the same plot as the original, reversing some of the roles.  Such is the case with this film.

Chris Carmack, who has had brief stints on "The O.C." and other TV sitcoms, stars as Sebastian, a dive master in Honolulu.  Laura Vandervoort plays his drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend, Dani.  When a wealthy man (Dave Anders of recent "Heroes" fame) appears and requests a week's worthy of dive time, Dani and Sebastian drop everything to accommodate them.  Tagging along with Anders is Azra (Marsha Thomason of "Las Vegas" fame).  It is evident right from the start that the two are trouble and will be the villains of the film.  Of course, the filmmakers try to make them appear innocent.  They gain Dani and Sebastian's trust under the false pretenses that they are looking for the San Cristobal, the treasure of the film.

Of course, the couple is not really looking for it, but rather they are looking for a couple of cases that were tossed overboard during the opening sequence of the film.  As Dani and Sebastian start to question the motives of their new clients, they decide to take a peak at the contents of the first chest that was found.  On a night dive they crack open the case to find the makings of a bomb, without the actual warheads.  The second chest contains the warheads.  Naturally, when the surface, their clients have stowed away on their boat and take them hostage.  As incentive to reclaim the other chest, the clients kidnap Sebastian and Dani's best friends, Avery and Kimi (Rand Holdren and Mircea Monroe).

Fortunately, Dani escapes and is found floating on a buoy with severe hypothermia.  Azra nad Sebastian go to the hospital to intercept in case Dani happens to awake from her coma.  Back aboard Sebastian's boat, the crew heads out to get the last chest.  A slip up results in some killing and the end of the film, which obviously ends with the discovery of the San Cristobal. The film is obvious and forced.  Some many lines in the script exist purely to push some other part of the plot.  The film only has some superficial stuff to offer audiences.  For some it will be worthy watching for the gratuitous nudity.  Others will find themselves drooling at Laura Vandervoort, who is at most in a skimpy bikini for the entire film, with the exception of her running around in an open-backed hospital gown and another sequence in which she is wear a skin tight evening dress.  Others will be paying attention to Marsha Thomason.  Are you seeing a theme here?  The film really only has skin to offer as the plot is recycled and forced.

I really do like Vandervoort as an actress.  She is extremely gorgeous and is captivating when she is on screen.  I was so disappointed when I learned that she was leaving "Smallville."  Then I learned she left the show to shoot this film and I was hopeful.  However, that hope is short lived.

The disc I received for view is a data compressed copy of the original and is entirely pointless to review in terms of video and quality.  The image was plagued by compression and motion artifacts, evident of about a 2.5Mbps bitrate.  However, that aside I can predict that the colros will be stunning.  The black levels will be average for a standard DVD.  They are good a times and flat at others.  I cannot judge the details of the DVD due to the compression artifacting.  However, the score given here is based on a reconstruction of what the video quality would be like on a normal standard DVD.  In any event I think the true colors and beauty of the scenery could strongly benefit from a Blu-ray release.

The audio quality is a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track.  The surround channels contain primarily bleed audio.  There are a few air bubble effects in the rears during the underwater sequences.  The dialogue is stable in the center channel, but lacks the warmth present in higher bitrate audio tracks.  The LFE channel is off and on, but I never found it to featured enough.

The disc contains relatively few supplemental features, as to be expected with a direct-to-video sequel.  "Get Wet" is a featurette that covers the shooting of the underwater sequences.  "Run For Your Life" is a featurette that over analyzes the chase sequence between Marsha Thomason and Laura Vandervoort.  It is apparently supposed to be like "Run Lola Run."  Well, let me tell you, I didn't get that feeling.  It seems like a cheap action chase.  Lastly, there is a music video of "Back to the Beach."

I didn't have much expectation for "Into the Blue 2: The Reef," other than hope for Vandervoort.  She does a fine job with what she has to work with.  I only hope that other producers and directors will toss this film aside to give her more opportunities in the feature.  The video and audio quality of a properly mastered DVD will be adequate for a standard definition presentation, but I still don't understand why it can't be released on Blu-ray.

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