Into the Blue

(2005) * 1/2 Pg-13
110 min. MGM/Columbia. Director: John Stockwell. Cast: Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Scott Caan, Ashley Scott, Josh Brolin.

Not content with making Blue Crush, director John Stockwell proceeded to make Into the Blue, another surf-and-turf platter featuring tanned, toned bodies in wanton competition with one another (before working "blue," Stockwell made Crazy/Beautiful). Generations X and Y can ogle barely-dressed Jessica Alba and Paul Walker, but beyond the swimsuit eye candy, which can be found more cheaply on newsstands and television, what does Into the Blue have to offer? A stupified version of the John Huston classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Walker and Alba play Jared and Sam, young lovers in the Bahamas. Jared's a boat bum who has daily to bail out his leaky tub, but Sam loves him anyway. Their relationship is tested when the expert divers discover twin treasures: a crashed plane loaded with cocaine and a shipwreck crammed with pirate plunder. Jared and Sam cling to their morals, but buddies Bryce (Scott Caan) and Amanda (Ashley Scott) insist they can have it both ways, claiming the treasure and only then reporting the downed plane.

Screenwriter Matt Johnson (Torque) knows what coke does to men's souls: it tempts them. Numerous complications ensue, including the interests of a rival treasure hunter (Josh Brolin, playing a character found nowhere in nature, but only in movies and airport paperbacks) and a number of other lowlifes (including male-model Tyson Beckford). Other than the shots of healthy bodies in underwater motion, very little happens for a very long time in Into the Blue: a burst of climactic action offers too little, too late and too obviously.

Caan's character notes that "Winners make the rules, and losers live by them," a message that proves true despite the story's ostensible moralism. Jared and Sam both go from pure-hearted to weak-willed, but Johnson and Stockwell prove forgiving—with their have-it-both-ways feel-good ending—and forgetting—suppressing thoughts of the significant body count. Primarily, Into the Blue displays plenty of priceless booty (and the treasure is impressive, too...).

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