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Article Archive >> Entertainment

Movies From the Black Lagoon: Whiteout

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Whiteout - 2009, Rated R

It was a heck of a weekend on February sixth. The bog blow of 2010 hit the lagoon and dumped about 22 inches of snow on it. The President called it "Snow-mageddon" while the local weather people dubbed it "Snow-ocalypse." Here in the Lagoon it was the perfect opportunity to watch a thriller set in the coldest, bleakest place on earth, the South Pole (where men are men and the women look like super models). What a great setting to stage a mundane melodrama that stretches credibility but won't tax your brain.
This all begins with a crackerjack flashback sequence that demonstrates why it's a really bad idea to have a battle aboard a cargo plane. It's anyone guess as to why these men start shooting at each other but who cares as it leads to a spectacular crash sequence.
Next up we get to meet our heroine, Carrie Stetko. She is a U.S. Marshall working out her inner demons while posted to a scientific expedition in Antarctica. She is a deeply troubled woman who was forced to gun down her partner when he sold out to a drug dealer. Kate Beckinsale (who appears on screen for all of five minutes before disrobing for the obligatory shower scene) plays the U.S. Marshall. The stage is set for a mystery when a researcher is found dead on the ice. The timing couldn't be worse as winter is on its way and forcing the whole operation two shut down for six months.
The dead guy leads Carrie to a station that was investigating meteorites. She finds it abandoned except for a gasping guy (his throat's been cut) and a hooded goon who swings a mean ice hammer. Carrie forgets she's the law and that she rocks a light weight pistol and proceed to run like she's got a plane to catch. She makes it to a secondary building but forgets the great lesson imparted from "A Christmas Story." You never touch frozen metal with bare flesh. She loses a patch of skin (and later two fingers) but she gets away.
An F.B.I. guy shows up and joins in the hunt, which leads them to the plane glimpsed in the opening set piece. Now it's under ice and so are they as they realize that the plane's cargo has been pilfered. They eventually hatch an escape and get back to camp in time to watch everyone else get set to leave. Turns out that winter is announcing its presence with authority by blasting the area with the titular condition in less than one day.
Will Carrie figure out who the killers are in time to duke it out with them while 90-mile winds ravage the camp? Hey this is an action movie that came from a comic book so rest assured that the finale will be action packed.
This one works as an escapist flick with logic escaping first. How else can you explain winds that blow characters around like pinballs when they unhook from a tether but only muss their hair while they are properly hooked up? You also have to wonder why a guy would fire a sub-machine gun aboard a plane. Then there's the annoying topography which shows mountains in the landscape though the region is supposedly as flat as Wisconsin. Then again you get Beckinsale looking like she just stepped out of a shampoo commercial so it isn't all bad.
The cast also includes screen veteran Tom Skerrit. He's great as the station's doctor and gets one of the best send offs I've seen in a film in quite awhile. It even beats his cinematic death in Ridley Scott's "Alien" all those years ago.
Bets Line: " You are, in short, gentlemen on your way to dying and its only been three minutes."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.

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