Chain Reaction (1996)

Genres - Action, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Chase Movie  |   Release Date - Aug 2, 1996 (USA)  |   Run Time - 116 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Karl Williams

Director Andrew Davis follows up The Fugitive (1993) with this disappointing thriller that turns cold fusion -- the Golden Fleece of energy science -- into the basis for a series of action set pieces. While he's a whiz with the mechanics of fast-paced visual thrills, this time at bat Davis whiffs by providing a story line that doesn't set up its central characters very well. The lack of sympathy is compounded by a casting problem. In the role of a villain, boob, or cipher as in Speed (1994) and The Matrix (1999), (Keanu Reeves is just dandy. Called upon to assay the part of a physics genius, however, the actor is simply in over his head, not having mastered the portrayal of quiet, competent intelligence in the Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks mold. While Chain Reaction (1996) is one of a pair of disappointments with which actor Morgan Freeman followed up his success with Seven (1995) (the other was 1996's Moll Flanders), his is the most interesting character in the film. It's a role lent conviction by an actor whose intensity ups the ante on even a project as easily dismissed as this.