Monday, September 14, 2009

White On Ice

Ever been to Five Guys? If there's a better burger chain out there, I don't know what it is. Their "secret" is that they use fresh, decent quality meat, and make it to order while offering a wide variety of toppings. That's all they do and they thoroughly kick the asses of McDonalds/Burger King/Wendy's. Really, the burgers from those places just aren't in the same time zone as Five Guys. I often stop off at Five Guys after I go to the movies. If the movie sucks, I console myself with the thought of the tasty Five Guys burger with A-1 and mustard waiting for me. During Whiteout, I spent a LOT of time thinking about hamburgers.

For some reason, I actually went into Whiteout thinking it might be good. This is because I'm a big fan of Kate Beckinsale and I thought the trailer and ads looked interesting. Also, due to an unusual amount of neglect, I hadn't seen the rating it was given by I thought this may be the rare exception of a decent movie coming out in September but no, it's a typical sucky Fall thriller that came out before Fall even officially started.

The movie opens on a Russian cargo plane in 1957. The Russians are flying over Antarctica in winter transporting some sort of super valuable item the nature of which (trust me) is completely unimportant to the plot. The two pilots decide to kill everyone on board and take whatever they're carrying. When one brought out a bottle of vodka to the armed guards, I figured he'd poisoned the vodka, something that would have efficiently killed the guards with no harm to the pilots or the plane but no, the vodka was just to distract from the genius plan to start shooting up a plane in flight. Well surprise surprise, the plane ends up full of holes and crashes onto the barren Antarctica wasteland where it stays hidden until 2009.

Enter U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko played by the mega gorgeous Kate Beckinsale. When she first showed up, I was wondering if Antarctica, a continent with a population less than that of Mayberry, was such a hot bed of criminal activity that it rated a full time U.S. Marshal as part of its year round population. That train of thought led me to wondering exactly what life was like for the research teams who call Anarctica home and how I was hoping the movie would show us some of that. Then I thought, "HOLY CRAP," when director Dominic Sena lovingly filmed Kate Beckinsale stripping and getting into the shower. That shower scene is the movie's only A+ moment even though it is the very definition of gratuitous. Sadly, the movie quickly travels downhill from here as Carrie and her pal Doc (Tom Skerritt) have to go to an area that's remote even by Antarctica standards to investigate a dead body. This leads them to an abandoned research camp where Carrie is assaulted by an axe wielding maniac wearing a mask whose identity can be quickly deduced by anyone who's ever seen a movie before. After escaping, Carrie and the pilot who brought her there discover U.N. investigator Thomas Pryce (Gabriel Macht) who quickly gains their trust even though he showed up mysteriously right after Carrie was attacked by a masked guy with an axe but really, what are the odds that they guy they don't know who's keeping secrets from them who suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the most remote place on the planet could be a bad guy?

Throughout all this stupidity, Carrie keeps having flashbacks of the traumatic experience (which, unfortunately, does not involve her stripping or showering) that led her to seek a post in the wasteland of Antarctica. When you finally see the whole thing played out, you then know who the second bad guy is. It was nice of the movie to conveniently telegraph all its surprises so far in advance so we, the audience, had the option of going out for burgers early if we wished. This could be Hollywood's version of the public option.

So I ended up seeing Kate Beckinsale almost naked and eating my favorite cheeseburger. Not too bad of an evening except I could have done that without seeing Whiteout.

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