Have you ever had that sinking feeling that something is going to be bad? Then have the sinking feeling be confirmed. As I started watching Chain Reaction, directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Under Siege) starring Keanu Reeves, I got that sinking feeling. And as I continued to watch the film, the feeling got worse and worse.
In a world that is reliant on petroleum, wouldn’t it be wonderful to find a cleaner more abundant source of energy? Something like water? That is the basis for Chain Reaction, and early in the film this is achieved by the luck of Eddie Kasalivich (Keanu Reeves). Eddie is a machinist for a hydrogen project that is working to, I’m confused with their explanation, split hydrogen from water and use that to create a cleaner energy source. But this discovery is all for not. Later that night, after a party celebrating the discovery, Eddie takes a coworker home and then heads back to the lab. As he arrives, alarms are sounding, and as he gets inside, he discovers that the head scientist on the project has been murdered, and another scientist is missing. He also sees that the hydrogen tank is completely unstable, and is about to blow. Eddie makes a run for it and barely escapes an explosion that levels eight square blocks.
After this point, the movie goes into a chase mode. But that is not low point of the movie. The movie takes place in Chicago, the FBI is on the hunt for the innocent Eddie and his coworker and is directed by Andrew Davis. Strangely enough the one armed man is missing from this film. Chain Reaction is a cheezy remake of The Fugitive. But there are a few other things missing next to that one armed man.
For one the strong performers are missing. Keanu is no Harrison Ford, and Fred Ward is not even close to being Tommy Lee Jones. Also missing is the intelligence of The Fugitive. Eddie is a dope, the conspiracy behind all the mayhem has no intelligence, and ideas behind most of the chases are preposterous. Keanu’s character Eddie is a complete idiot in the movie. I wonder what Eddie is thinking when he does some of the things he does in the movie, and in most cases, I don’t think his character is thinking anything. Fred Ward doesn’t come close to Tommy Lee Jones, often squinting his eyes in some sort of effort to look tough, but coming off as some rookie actor. He also delivers lines that were not as convincing as Jones did in The Fugitive. He also has a group of rag-tag agents helping him out, and if I’m not mistaken, some of those agents were actually on the US Marshall’s team in The Fugitive. The conspiracy behind all of this mayhem is headed up be the Central Intelligence Agency but shows no intelligence at all. I often wondered why they would be trying to frame, kill, and or get killed the only guy who knows how to make the hydrogen project work.
If I said that the chases were awful I would be lying. Though the story and characters are weak, most all of the chase sequences are well done. Though there feels to be one too many chase sequences.
Chain Reaction is a cheap cheezy try at trying to recreate The Fugitive. But its efforts are all but lost in its weak script and bad acting. Forget seeing this film and go and rent Andrew Davis' better film, The Fugitive.