Writer: J.F. Lawton, Michael Bortman (Screenplay) Arne Schmidt, Rick Seaman, Josh Friedman (Story)
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Morgan Freeman, Rachel Weisz, Fred Ward, Kevin Dunn, Brian Cox, Joanna Cassidy
Plot: Two researchers in a green alternative energy project are put on the run when they are framed for murder and treason.
Tagline – Reaction Time 8-4-96
Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Simple Actioner
Story: Chain Reaction starts in a world where energy sources are running low, where scientists Eddie (Reeves), Lily (Weisz) and Paul (Freeman) are working on an alternative energy source using hydrogen, which proves to be a success, until somebody sabotages their project causing massive explosion.
Eddie and Lily find themselves targeted by an FBI investigation, leading them to go on the run to clear their names and prove who was really behind the explosion, a path which shows many different sides to the people they worked with.
Thoughts on Chain Reaction
Characters – Eddie Kasalivich is one of the scientists that has been working on the hydrogen project, he has cracked the problems they were facing and always looks after the people working on the project with him. He narrowly avoids being caught in the explosion, learning of the foul play involved with it, getting framed in the process. He goes on the run to prove he had nothing to do with the explosion and the research was for the greater good for humanity. Paul Shannon is the man that gets the funding for the project, he knows that is free energy could cause problems and is the connection between the truth and the escape. Dr Lily Sinclair is working on the project, which sees her being framed, going on the run with Eddie, learning more about the truth behind what happened. We also have the FBI agents who are following the basic clues, as well as the people who were behind the explosion looking to clean up the loose ends.
Performances – Keanu Reeves doesn’t do anything wrong in the leading role, he doesn’t get too much to work with as he just doesn’t get loose on the full action side of things. Morgan Freeman and Rachel Weisz are strong enough without being let off the lease for their full potential.
Story – The story here follows the aftermath of an explosion within an energy research facility, showing how two of the scientists become the suspects who must prove their innocence. This is an interesting idea for a story, using the ideas of a new energy source that could become free and friendly to the world and how people would want to control this. The whole fugitive angle is everything the director is known for works without being too serious with how it unfolds. This is a routine story, with the number of twists thrown in along the way.
Action/Sci-Fi – The action does give away the biggest scene in the opening explosion, while the rest is more just chases, that never feel like they are edge of the seat in anyway.
Settings – The film is set different locations starting with Chicago facing the explosion, while the rest shows the more secret locations a project like this could happen around.
Special Effects – The effects have dated now, with the opening explosion does not look realistic in anyway.
Scene of the Movie – The escape the explosion.
Final Thoughts – This is an action film that gave away the biggest moment too early and ends up plodding along at a slow pace, while trying to get over a bigger message.
Overall: Easy Going Action