Favorite

Mired in the net 

‘Untraceable’ is uninspired.

LANE: Phoning in.
  • LANE: Phoning in.

Wouldn't it be great if there were an expiration date on film concepts? That way, you'd get the great, interesting, cool-beans original, but not all the terrible, stupid, let's-make-the-detective-an-orangutan knockoffs. Think of all the bad-movie-ticket money we could have saved, for instance, if movie lovers could have somehow stamped “Silence of the Lambs” as the paragon of the serial killer flick, making the genre off-limits to all the pretenders to the throne.

While that's a fairly radical solution and might even entail some creative cut-and-paste work with the ol' Bill of Rights, it's hard to sit through a flick like “Untraceable” and not think it might be worth it. Tired, slow, and wholly unbelievable, “Untraceable” is the kind of movie that makes me want to become a serial killer, if only to hunt down the coked-up Hollywood 'tards who greenlight crapola like this time and again.

Diane Lane stars as Jennifer Marsh, a beleaguered agent attached to the FBI's Portland, Ore. cyber crimes unit. In between flexing her Patriot Act-enhanced e-muscles (leading to some scenes that border on Gestapo-esque law enforcement tactics) in tracking down Internet fraud and kiddie porn, Marsh happens across a website called www.killwithme.com. Seemingly untraceable, the site soon goes live with streaming video of a man slowly being tortured to death. Specifically, he's being dosed with blood thinner, from a bag keyed to the website's hit counter. The more people who watch, the faster the drug drips into his system, and the faster he dies. From there, it's a race to find the evil genius killer, who keeps kidnapping people and making net viewers his all-too-willing accomplices to murder.

I might have been able to give “Untraceable” a pass as just another “Lambs” wannabe with an Internet-based twist (props to the screenwriters for not having the killer turn out to be Marsh's best friend, ex-husband, 6-year-old daughter or split personality) if it weren't for the film's habit of periodically getting on its high horse and decrying how sick and twisted the world has become, as evidenced by the horrific videos available on the Internet. Note that these earnest, upstanding statements are made in a movie where shrieking victims are fried to a crisp with hundreds of heat lamps, boiled down to the bones in battery acid, and slowly lowered headfirst into the whirling teeth of garden machinery. That, folks, is what anyone outside of Hollywood might call “irony.”

While Lane is good here, showing both her range and why more “seasoned” actresses should be considered for the roles that would normally go to some 20-year-old sweet patootie you've never heard of, you can tell throughout that Lane's mostly phoning this one in. As for the rest of the cast, it's pretty much a train wreck, from Tom Hanks' crotchfruit Colin Hanks as Marsh's jug-eared geek of a partner, to Billy Burke as the film's token Old Skool, Shoeleather-Beats-a-Computerator-Any-Day-Sweetheart Detective. Even the killer turns out to look more like a Mormon missionary than a cold-blooded murderer, and his motive is even more hackneyed than the casting.

In short, what would have probably been a straight-to-DVD stinker without Lane attached makes it to the big screen. Best to wait until it returns to its natural habitat — the video store — before giving this one a try.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by David Koon

Readers also liked…

  • Not much to 'Love'

    In Judd Apatow's new Netflix original series.
    • Feb 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Movie Reviews

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Spero heads up songwriting camp

    • A good step in the right direction! Another step would be to unite the women…

    • on July 17, 2017
  • Re: Walter was the worst

    • What a lame review. Walter Becker was never Steely Dan's guitar star...they left that to…

    • on July 17, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation