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Sunday, October 9, 2005

Into the Blue (**)


Into the Blue is the Aquaman movie that will never be made. The season-long running gag in Entourage involves James Cameron directing Adrian Grenier as Aquaman, but if there’s one thing Into the Blue made clear, it’s that Paul Walker is the best man for the role. Not only does the blonde-haired, blue eyed, and chiseled Walker look the part, he practically portrayed Aquaman; he could hold his breath underwater practically indefinitely and found himself fighting drug dealers and salvage pirates 60 feet below sea level. Walker even had finny friends; the sharks in the movie don’t attack Paul Walker, but they will attack Walker’s enemies when he needs them to. Jessica Alba also makes a much better Aquagirl than Mandy Moore would. Director John Stockwell has made two of the better pop movies in the last five years dealing with young female characters, crazy/beautiful and Blue Crush, the latter being a well-crafted and underrated pop movie about female surfers. Into the Blue is comparatively a disappointment, with a bad script that dived headlong into the waters of absurdity without an oxygen tank. Acting-wise, Scott Caan and Ashley Scott were smarmy and terrible, mostly terrible. Walker was exactly what he always is. The best performance of the leads came from Jessica Alba, with a big assist coming from her bikinis. No, seriously, this is probably the smoothest and most balanced performance Alba has given in any of the movies she’s done to date. When the question of whether Jessica Alba can act is raised, I'll defend that I watched her grow into the role of Max Guevara and she did some layered and subtle work on her two seasons on Dark Angel. I'm not saying Alba turned into Meryl Streep by any means, but she was better here than she has been in her last few movies. Compared to her performances in Honey, Sin City, and Fantastic Four, Into the Blue is her cinematic coming out party.