Chain Reaction

A Big Bomb

Chicago residents who were disappointed that our city was destroyed off-screen in Independence Day can find some consolation in this new Andrew Davis thriller, in which a big chunk of the south side is flattened by an explosion, which also knocks Keanu Reeves off his bike. Whoa, dude!

Davis is the director who surprised everyone with the success of The Fugitive, a thoughtful thriller with action highlights. This one may be a bit too thoughtful. Is technology progressing too fast? Is this potentially harmful technology being suppressed? Should the government have created an agency so secret that they have no idea what they’re up to? Why is Morgan Freeman smoking those expensive cigars around all those big hydrogen tanks? These are just a few of the questions raised in this complex story about what happens when scientists discover a way to produce limitless energy at no cost, with plans to give away the secret to everyone. Keanu is the only one with key info on how to make it work, but government spooks are after him for it, while framing him as a spy. Who can he trust? The shifty Freeman? FBI man Fred Ward? The middle of the movie gets bogged down in this paranoia, but the first and last acts have plenty of stuff blowing up to compensate.

Meanwhile, Chicagoans can also chuckle at scenes set around D.C.’s Smithsonian, obviously played by our own Field Museum and Museum of Science & Industry.

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