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Movie Review

Six-hundred billion dollars. That's the worth of the sunken treasure some experts estimate still lies on the floors of the world's oceans. And a passion-rich but cash-poor young American named Jared is determined to discover his share in the clear, shallow—and shark infested—waters off the Bahamas. Jared's live-in girlfriend, Sam, indulges his unlikely dream of striking it rich, but mostly she just loves him and being with him.

The couple's idyllic, if simple, life together is interrupted by the arrival of Jared's brother, Bryce, a shady but successful defense attorney, and his latest girlfriend (of 14 hours), Amanda. While free diving, the four of them make two momentous discoveries: the wreckage of a mythic pirate ship and the fuselage of a plane that's obviously crashed recently—and is full of cocaine.

To claim the ship they've discovered, which is potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Jared and Co. have to confidently identify it and file a claim. Bryce and Amanda, however, are more interested in a sure thing: the millions of dollars of watertight cocaine bricks resting nearby. When the less scrupulous couple tries to sell some purloined coke to a local dealer named Reyes, they are sucked into a swirling vortex of underworld—and underwater—violence they never anticipated ... drawing Jared and Sam in as well.

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Positive Elements

Jared and Amada both steadfastly resist Bryce and Amanda's insistence that they go after the stash of cocaine they've discovered. The group needs money to finance their salvage operation on the wreckage they've discovered, and that need generates strong temptation. But both Jared and Sam refuse to give into it.

Their moral character contrasts with that of Bryce and Amanda. Bryce rationalizes, "Winners make the rules, and losers live by them." For him, the cocaine represents a means to an end, and he's completely unconcerned with any effects selling the drug might have on its end users. Sam, on the other hand, values relationship above money. She asks Jared, "Would you give up treasure for love? You should ask yourself what's missing in your life that money would get you." And when it appears to her that Jared has given in and "gone bad," she is unwilling to compromise herself even for his sake.

Several characters, including Jared, Sam and Bryce, put their lives on the line to save one another once things go awry. Though Bryce's poor decisions have put the group in jeopardy, he's willing to help his brother try to save Sam, who's held hostage by an island drug lord.

Spiritual Content

A man says that if he saw a shark, he would "run like Jesus of Nazareth on the water."

Sexual Content

The underwater director of photography for Into the Blue, Peter Zuccarini, said of the many submerged scenes where actors and actresses wear only skimpy swimsuits instead of wetsuits, "We felt it was important for the cast to stay streamlined so they could move well in the action sequences while remaining recognizable. And their sun-bronzed bodies looked fantastic against the intensely blue Bahamian water." So much for realism! In virtually every underwater scene, lingering, close-up camera shots focus on Sam's and Amanda's features—which are barely covered by teeny-weeny-usually-not-polka-dot bikinis—creating a sexually charged atmosphere during even mundane excavations. On land, Sam and Amanda sashay about wearing little more than they do in the ocean (going braless, wearing miniskirts and halter tops, etc.).

The guys get equal time onscreen, and the camera takes great care in repeatedly highlighting their chiseled abs, legs and pecs. In one scene part of Jared's backside is seen when his shorts ride low.

Amanda sunbathes topless (her back and the side of her breast are seen.) When she stands up, even more of her chest is exposed (but not from the front).

Wearing underwear, Sam climbs on top of Jared in bed and kisses him. (It's clear that the pair lives together and has a sexual relationship.) Elsewhere, Sam struggles with an assailant underwater who grabs one of her breasts and almost pulls her swimming suit off.

Sexually tinged banter includes, among other things, an oblique reference to oral sex. A scene in a nightclub shows both couples dancing and grinding suggestively against one another.

Violent Content

A man cuts his face on a Plexiglas panel during a plane crash; water violently cascades into the cockpit drowning the pilot, co-pilot and a drug runner. Later, the main characters discover their decomposing bodies. A cannon that the group tries to raise from the ocean floor falls, pinning Bryce's arm beneath it. Bryce gets into a fistfight with a drug dealer and his lackeys. Jared and Bryce fight a pair of thugs; Jared—who apparently has Aquaman-like abilities to stay underwater for long periods of time without oxygen—holds one of the men underwater with him, perhaps attempting to drown him.

But all that's just for starters. Once Jared and Bryce get tangled up with the local drug dealers, the movie amps up the violence. A drug lord hits Bryce in the face and puts a gun to Jared's head. Tiger sharks feast graphically on two unlucky characters, including one whose mauled leg is clearly shown. Not pretty.

A man is shot in the stomach and killed; another character is shot in the head. Dead bodies litter a drug dealer's yacht. Two people are shot with small harpoons—one in the face and another in the thigh. Sam breaks free from a ship's hold using an ax to hack off the hand of a dead man to whom she was handcuffed; we don’t witness the blade's impact, but we briefly glimpse the corpse and its obviously detached hand. Sam slams a door on a thug's hand, mangling it badly; he smashes a window with his head and continues pursuing her. There's a lethal, massive, underwater explosion.

Crude or Profane Language

Characters utter the f-word twice and the s-word approximately 10 times. They take God's or Jesus' name in vain about a dozen times (including one use of "g--d--n"). "A--" is also used about 10 times, followed by a few instances each of "h---," "b--ch" and "p---ed." One character gives another the finger, and crude slang references to both male and female anatomy show up. When Sam discovers Amanda has stolen some cocaine, she derisively labels her a "coke whore."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Several scenes show Jared, Sam, Bryce, Amanda and others consuming mixed drinks and Bacardi Breezers. In one shot, they're downing mixed drinks and smoking cigars in a swimming pool. They also drink together at the dance club, where Amanda tries to buy cocaine from a dealer. When Bryce and Amanda try to sell some of the cocaine they've stolen, Bryce's frequent sniffles and exaggerated paranoid behavior imply that he's already sampled the goods. It's equally obvious that Amanda is an experienced cocaine user.

Other Negative Elements

Sam works as a shark wrangler at the Atlantis theme park (think Sea World). As she feeds nurse sharks, she talks to spectators breezily about how most species of sharks are not as dangerous as people believe. Later, divers frequently swim with sharks without much concern. The implication is that cool people swim with sharks.

Jared and Bryce repeatedly jump a speedboat's wake on jet skis, getting big air and even doing flips with their personal watercraft. They make these dangerous stunts look easy—easy enough that young, impressionable watchers might give it a try themselves ... and end up with a jet ski on top of them.

Deception comes almost as naturally to Bryce as breathing. He lies to Jared about his ability to finance their salvage operation. And his selfish character is revealed further when he quietly suggests to Jared that his new girlfriend, Amanda, shouldn't have any share in the treasure.

Conclusion

In a summer full of action movies long on special effects and short on story or character development, Into the Blue actually exceeded my admittedly modest expectations. The story takes several unexpected, dramatic turns, and its heroine, Sam, refuses to compromise her moral stance (at least when it comes to cocaine; sex seems perfectly OK with her).

Integrity isn't a given for Hollywood protagonists anymore. Unfortunately, neither are clothes. Suffice it to say this movie is a Maxim reader's dream come true. Though Jessica Alba has repeatedly told interviewers that she refuses to do nude scenes in movies such as this one and Sin City (in which she portrayed a stripper), she seems quite comfortable getting as close to nudity as possible, wearing only tiny, strategically placed triangles of cloth.

Some might call Alba's no-nudity/near-nudity stance inconsistent. She sees it as good business. She told Hollywood Life magazine, "I have to go to certain lengths to use sexuality to my advantage while guiding people to think the way I want them to. People think I'm an 'action babe' because Fox wanted to 'sell' [my television show] Dark Angel to a Maxim demographic, and they put me on the cover of that magazine. It wasn't that they put a gun to my head—it's just how they sell movies."

That attitude—and the body that goes with it—is abundantly on display in Into the Blue. The filmmakers' infatuation with Jessica's curves, combined with a boatload of profanity and grisly images, make plunging into the deep waters of Into the Blue a chilly proposition.

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Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

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