Chain Reaction (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Just as the university research team is about to prove that their new technique will permit water to be used as a fuel, their laboratory is sabotaged and the lab manager is killed. Eddie Kasalivich (Keanu Reeves) stumbles onto the scene and manages not only to witness the sabotage, but to escape from it. When he tries to talk about it to authorities, he discovers that they think he and the other project survivors committed the crime. In reality, a group of energy companies have conspired with … More

Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Josh Friedman, Rick Seaman, J.F. Lawton, Michael Bortman
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 22, 2001
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment


as Eddie Kasalivich

as Paul Shannon

as Dr. Lily Sinclair

as Agt. Leon Ford

as Agt. Doyle

as Lyman Earl Collier

as Maggie McDermott

as Ed Rafferty

as Dr. Alistair Barkley

as Dr. Lu Chen

as Lucasz Screbneski

as Emily Pearl

as James Washington

as Morris Grodsky

as Video Dan

as Lab Techie No. 3

as Caleb Williams

as Ken Lim

as Sarah Fine

as Raymond Pena

as Gabrielle Guerrera

as Stuart Showcroft

as Wisconsin Chief Schm...

as DC Technician

as DC technician

as Sergeant Joe Byczkow...

as Sergeant Nick Zingar...

as Officer Miguel

as Dane County Cop

as Yusef Reed

as State Trooper Nemitz

as Jim Gaylord

as State Trooper Schwar...

as Anita Fermi

as Chicago Administrato...

as Receptionist

as Matthew Haig

as Justin Tidy

as Colleen Dryden

as Rita Bliss

as Dolores Enrique

as Al Vanzetti

as Drummond

as TV reporter

as TV reporter

as Clancy Butler

as Yusef Reed

as Naldo Partida

as Chidi Egbuna

as Senator Phil Schmidt

as Senate Chairman

as Staff Member Stennis

as Senate Guard

as Firechief No. 1

as Barkley's Lawyer

as Bar Patron

as Max Holloway

as Bridge Controller

as Bridge Controller

as Sergeant Joe Byczkow...

as Train Porter

as Older Woman on Train

as Flower Shop Owner

as D.C. Flower Delivery...

as Gate Guard

as Panhandler

as Homeless Husband

as Homeless Wife

as Homeless Man

as Orbit

as Swizlard

as Tunnel Foreman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Chain Reaction

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Critic Reviews for Chain Reaction

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (14)

The narrative is very complex, but what's on the screen is little more than generic, non-narrative-specific, guy-being-chased stuff.

January 1, 2000
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

The movie is so uninvolving that it inspires renewed respect for Broken Arrow, which was equally stupid but excitingly filmed.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

[Chain Reaction] has better acting, better writing, more spectacular chase sequences and more genuine drama than all of this summer's blockbusters.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Chain Reaction isn't dull -- the film is paced to keep audiences attentive -- but the lack of originality dampens its enjoyability.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

It's not a bad film in individual moments and in the energy of itsperformances, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Plodding and predictable, and a big disappointment.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Chain Reaction

I remember seeing the trailer for this film way back in 96 at the cinema. It looked really quite cool and exciting, Reeves was flying high at the time and it boasted some snazzy CGI, talk about deceptive!

The whole film seemed to be centred around one sequence. That sequence being the huge explosion that occurs near the start and wipes out a vast area of Chicago, nuclear in appearance. Now this was back in the days when CGI was still a newish weapon and big flashy destructive sequences like this were looked upon as impressive and breaking the barrier.

Looking back it is a nice effect but of course its dated and the cracks are showing, but I'm not gonna moan about that. The problem is the rest of the film is really quite dull, visuals are dull, action is dull and the acting is even dull despite a very good cast line up. Reeves is his usual monotone self, Weisz is a complete drip and Freeman now looks pretty cliched in his natty Malcolm X looking 90's suit and hat.

It really does feel like they wanted to show off their CGI destruction sequence so they made an entire film around that one moment. A completely by the numbers action thriller (if you can call it that) that covers every aspect you'd expect from the fugitive chase movie book. Bland boring so very very predictable and the films title is one of those totally meaningless but cool sounding types that looks even cooler with a striking font.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Reaction Time 8-4-96

Saw it again! Good movie! Anyone want to venture a guess that Keanu Reeves was sorry he passed up Speed 2 to make this turkey? Despite the fact that it is instantly forgettable, CHAIN REACTION is a fairly decent sci-fi actioneer. The writers deserve to be commended for their original storyline, in which a scientific team discovers a low-cost fuel source reliant only on water.The action and thrills are never first-rate, and things drag on a tad too long, but somehow, CHAIN REACTION is better than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless watch it when you have the chance, nice cast.

Eddie Kasalivich, an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, works as a technician for a scientific team that discovers an alternative, low-cost, pollution-free fuel source. When one of the chief scientists is murdered and the invention stolen, Eddie and physicist Lily Sinclair are framed for it and have to flee for their lives, with the FBI, CIA and other involved parties in close pursuit. Paul Shannon, Eddies mentor, is the director of a scientific company which - unknown to Eddie - has commercial interests in the invention. Eddie and Lily set out to find the stolen invention and hopefully clear themselves of the false charges.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


Pretty poor but saved from being awful by the great Morgan Freeman and the brilliant Rachel Weisz. Pretty much your average popcorn film.

Sarah Gaish

Super Reviewer

Chain Reaction Quotes

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