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"CHAIN REACTION"
(1996) (Keanu Reeves, Morgan Freeman) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Moderate Heavy Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Minor Heavy None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
None Mild None Minor Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: A machinist in an alternative energy lab who has just created pure, abundant and free energy goes on the run after the lab blows up and the FBI starts chasing him.
PLOT:
Eddie Kasalivich (KEANU REEVES) is a machinist in a Chicago based alternative energy research lab. There they are attempting to remove hydrogen from H20 (water) and thus create an unlimited, pure and free form of energy. But the removed solution is unstable and so far, the researchers are baffled. But one night Eddie discovers the secret to make it work and the next day the lab, and a good chunk of Chicago, are blown up. The FBI wonders what this lab was really up to and question Paul Shannon (MORGAN FREEMAN), the older distinguished partner, Lily Sinclair (RACHEL WEISZ) a scientist, and Eddie. Soon the FBI, represented by Agent Ford (FRED WARD), thinks that Eddie and Lily are terrorists and the two then make a run for it. From that point on, Eddie and Lily must figure out who's responsible and they uncover a covert CIA operation that involves their coworker and friend Paul.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
An action adventure movie with the star of "Speed" will surely draw those who like this type of film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some intense action/violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KEANU REEVES plays the intelligent and resourceful lab worker who must resort to violence and theft in order to keep himself free from harm while trying to discover the truth.
  • MORGAN FREEMAN plays the older, wise partner in the research lab who turns out to be not exactly the nice guy we thought he was. He's responsible (directly and indirectly) for several deaths.
  • RACHEL WEISZ plays one of the lab scientists who goes on the run with Eddie. Her role is not very well developed, so that fact that she is a scientist (working on a good cause) puts her as a good role model.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
    This is a fairly enjoyable film if you can overlook some implausibilities of action and plot. However, it's nowhere near the quality of, or as enjoyable as, director Davis' last film, "The Fugitive" from which this movie borrows quite a bit. Here we have two characters on the lam while a Federal agent (Fred Ward instead of Tommy Lee Jones) tries to capture them as they try to prove their innocence and find the real bad guys. There are some decent chase/suspense scenes, but by the end the implausibilities start coming too fast (he manages to sneak into a top secret, heavily guarded CIA facility and go right to where the bad guys are, and then later works at will to rig the place to blow up) and the film starts to unravel. Freeman seems somewhat constrained in his role and Keanu falls short of the magic he mastered in "Speed." We give the movie just 5 out of a 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    As far as PG-13 films go, this one is about average as far as content is concerned. There are several killings, some more fights and quite a few chase scenes. There isn't a ton of profanity and there is no sexual content. Several of the scenes are rather tense and suspenseful, but overall there's not much quantitatively to object to. As always, read through all of the category listings before making your decision.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • The lab crew celebrates their success with champagne.
  • Lily is drunk after the above celebration and tries to drive home but her battery is dead. Eddie walks her home instead.
  • People are seen drinking wine and mixed drinks in a bar.
  • CIA workers celebrate getting the hydrogen system to work by drinking champagne.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • Lyman (the main bad guy) has a little bit of blood running down from his mouth after having been shot.
  • Another bad guy is seen several times with some blood running down his head after 1) scaffolding falls on him and 2) after he fights with Eddie.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Of course the bad guys have both and in this case they try to frame Eddie and Lily as terrorists responsible for the tremendous explosion (by sending them incriminating faxes and leaving huge sums of money at Eddie's place).
  • Paul turns out not to be the good friend Eddie thought he had and turns out not to be a good guy at all.
  • During one of their escapes, Eddie and Lily steal an air boat, break into a lakefront home (to hide and to get warm), and then steal the owner's truck to drive to Washington, D.C.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • Eddie realizes the lab is going to blow and gets on his motorcycle and speeds away. The lab blows and a huge fireball races out in all directions. Eddie looks back and sees the fireball explosion nearing him and he just gets out of the way in time.
  • The police chase Eddie through the streets of Chicago to a draw bridge that is rising. Eddie races up to the top and a cop chasing him slips and slides back down to the bottom. Eddie then crawls down as they lower the bridge and manages an efficient, if not entirely believable, escape.
  • There's another chase scene, this time through the snow and across a frozen lake. It starts in the woods as Eddie returns to an observatory where Lily is hiding out. The police find them there and they flee to the roof where a cop stops them, gun drawn. A helicopter happens by and a sniper shoots the cop. Eddie grabs the gun and he and Lily flee and take an air boat that's been equipped to run on top of the frozen lakes and escape.
  • At the lake house, Eddie notices intruders in the home. He draws his gun and then slowly makes his way through the house, never knowing where the intruders are. One comes behind him, he spins and shoots the man who then falls down the stairs. The second man grabs Eddie, they struggle and then Lily bashes the intruder over the head with a toilet tank cover, knocking him out.
  • There's another fight/chase scene inside a museum (see "Violence" for details).
  • The final sequence where Eddie has set up the hydrogen system to explode and everyone has to escape is tense and is detailed in "Violence."
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Paul pockets a hand gun when he thinks things are starting to go bad.
  • Rifle: Used to kill a policeman from a helicopter.
  • Handgun: Used by Eddie to shoot someone who was planning on shooting him.
  • Handgun: Used by Lyman (the main bad guy) to kill a lab worker.
  • Handgun: Used by Paul to kill Lyman.
  • Handguns: Used by bad guys to shoot at Eddie and Lily as they try to escape the underground lab.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Eddie is seen driving through a stop sign without stopping.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A bad guy jumps out and grabs Eddie who's slowly searching through a house for intruders.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • The tense and suspenseful scenes are accompanied by great deal of suspenseful music.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 5 "s" words, 9 hells, 3 damns, 1 SOB, and 5 uses of "Jesus," "Christ" or a combination, 3 uses of "My God" or "Oh my God," 2 uses of "For God's sake," "and 1 use each of "God damn," "God almighty," and "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • Paul is almost always seen with a cigar in his mouth. Sometimes it's lit, other times not.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Alternative forms of energy.
  • Whether the government is involved in such covert operations.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Eddie returns to the lab and finds the director dead with a plastic bag over his head.
  • The lab explodes and destroys eight blocks of Chicago, nearly burning up Eddie in the process while sending debris and other vehicles flying over his head.
  • A police officer pulls his gun on Eddie and Lily during a chase but is then gunned down and killed by a sniper in a helicopter.
  • At the lake house, Eddie notices intruders in the home. He draws his gun and then slowly makes his way through the house, never knowing where the intruders are. One comes behind him and he spins and shoots the man who then falls down the stairs. The second man grabs Eddie. They struggle and then Lily bashes the intruder over the head with a toilet tank cover, knocking him out.
  • Eddie and Lily meet with Paul in a museum where they discover who and what Paul really is. Paul leaves and the bad guys move in to apprehend them. Eddie then smashes one through a glass display, punches another guy and then hits another with a fossil bone. He knocks over another guy and then flees with Lily through the museum where they're chased, here and there, until Lily's captured and has something sprayed in her face that knocks her out.
  • The main bad guy, Lyman, threatens to kill Lily and another lab worker if they don't assist in recreating their success from the other lab.
  • Eddie sets up the CIA lab to explode. Everyone panics and runs out. Lyman pulls out his gun and kills a lab worker to get Eddie's attention. He then grabs Lily and puts the gun to her head. Paul talks him out of shooting her and all of the bad guys flee, locking Eddie and Lily in the lab room with the hydrogen system just minutes from blowing up. They try to get out as the protective walls lower, but several guards prevent them from escaping.
  • Paul shoots Lyman (the main bad guy) dead with three shots (heard, but not seen).
  • Two bad guys shoot at Eddie and Lily as they try to escape. Eddie retaliates by causing scaffolding to fall down on them. One guy gets up and then fights with Eddie and several punches are thrown. Lily hits the bad guy with a large wrench, but he spins around and knocks her to the ground. Eddie then knees the guy in the groin.
  • The hydrogen system explodes and a huge fireball rips through the tunnels, killing the bad guy and knocking Eddie and Lily around in an elevator cage (but they're okay).



  • Reviewed August 3, 1996

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