The tagline for the latest action thriller from Dominic Sena (Swordfish) is “see your last breath,” and while that is supposed to cue audiences into the visceral sensation of mystery and adventure with a hint of danger in Antarctica, nothing in the movie’s chilly execution comes close to approximating a white-knuckle experience.
Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is a U.S Marshall serving a self-imposed exile in the great white land of snow and ice after failing to trust her instincts in a case that resulted in the death of her partner in Miami.
Of course, she’s the tough cookie out to prove herself to all of the boys, and once again she’s going to be tested when a killer begins picking off various workers at the research facility just before the region plunges into several months of complete isolation.
Beckinsale knows her way around a good Underworld fight for survival, but this time she’s saddled with a director in Sena who displays no skill or savvy in exploiting the marriage between the tension and the metaphor of the visual landscape in relation to the character’s dilemma. In the end, this boilerplate crime story could have been set anywhere and, in the hands of Sena, been just as boring as it is here. Whiteout is the equivalent of a blank screen with no trace of breath of life. Grade: D-
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