A sure sign the well of ideas has reached the watery muck at the bottom: multiple movies whose protagonists spend the entire running time inside a box. Where Ryan Reynolds was clapped in a pine box for Buried, this film’s star, Stephen Dorff, awakes in the trunk of a car—or rather, he comes to in a Plexiglas container placed within said trunk, presumably to seal in freshness.
Double-bagging notwithstanding, Gabe Torres’s thriller quickly goes stale when it emerges that Dorff’s Secret Service agent knows the undisclosed location where the President retreats when the country is under attack. The bad guys, unidentified but for their Middle Eastern accents, use car bombs to drive the President underground, with the government grunt watching the seconds go by until someone gives up the goods or everybody goes kaboom.
Primarily a TV director, Torres lacks the chops to delineate Dorff’s claustrophobic quarters, and the actor spends most of the movie confusing tough-guy stoicism with simple inertness, despite the occasional Jack Bauer–style yell. His desire for escape is understandable, trapped as he is in a thesis-short gimmick padded to feature length and capped by a risibly contrived twist. “There’s a complex plan at work,” he explains at one point. If there is, it gets lost in the dark.
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