All concept and no substance, Untraceable is unlikeable. Preying on modern day fears of the Internet and rampant technology use, the film does little else than put a few graphic kills on screen to shock. It’s devoid of tension, the thriller stuff has been done before, and some of the things the characters do are well below their pay grade.
Diane Lane is on the end of some fairly awful dialogue as an FBI agent tasked with tracking down an Internet killer. All of the computer speak will baffle any viewer not up to date with the finer aspects of computers and the web. Those who do understand what they’re saying will laugh it off as a joke, which is what it is. None of this is feasible, and the quick talk jargon is only meant to sound realistic.
Maybe if there was material worthwhile here, all of that could be overlooked. Sadly, there’s not. Billy Burke is out of place as a fellow FBI agent, his personality completely off base and unlikeable, yet no one seems to notice. The killer is revealed early, destroying any sense of mystery, lowering the suspense, and making the slow, painful kills hardly the spectacle director Gregory Hoblit wants them to be. This is a long fall from his 1996 feature Primal Fear.
The set-up which eventually leads to Diane Lane’s character becoming directly involved means some horrifically dumb moves on her part need to be made for this to happen. You can only sit back baffled as to how anyone, especially someone intelligent enough to be tasked with saving citizens from serial Internet murders, could get into a car obviously set up as a trap. That’s not a spoiler. It’s just that obvious.
Fans of gore-laden horror such as Saw won’t have their fill, either. Only one death comes off as particularly gruesome on screen. Another two are just overly bloody to the point of being overdone and ridiculous. This is the type of stuff that has become passé, and the way in which Untraceable uses it is neither original nor appealing. This is a movie trying to make a statement about glorifying violence in the media, yet it becomes a piece of that media in the process.
There are far better crime thrillers to spend your time on, ones with actual tension and characters intelligent enough to fend for themselves. Untraceable’s unique ideas are butchered by a failure to capitalize on the concept and scripting that leaves some questions left unanswered (or even how any of this would even be possible to pull off). [xrr rating=1/5 label=Movie]
Untraceable comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Sony, and while the transfer has some issues, this is a fine piece of video. Colors are strong (without being oversaturated), with flesh tones that remain accurate throughout. Black levels are certainly deep, but also crush detail. This is a razor sharp transfer sporting superb detail with the blacks under control whether in close or in a long shot. A few overhead shots of the city do falter, though this is a source issue, not the disc. Whites can occasionally run a little hot, though this is a minor issue limited to a few scenes. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
Sony delivers a TrueHD mix with few opportunities to show what it can do. The LFE gains most of the heavy audio. FBI agents break into doors and the room shakes as if it were your own home. Thunder also delivers a decent jolt during a few stormy scenes. Likewise, the rain nicely fills the sound field. Dialogue scenes remain entirely center loaded, and the busy offices lack any positional audio or separation. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]
Director Hoblit joins two of his producers on a commentary track that deals mostly with the technical side of things. Those looking for plot discussion are left out. Four featurettes come together and total around an hour. Tracking Untraceable is unique in that it deals with the inaccurate dialogue in terms of the technology used in the film. The others remain standard fare, dealing with the actors and sets.
A Blu-ray exclusive Beyond the Cyber Bureau, is a picture-in-picture feature that offers more information than the base featurettes. There is no other way to access the content that to watch the entire movie with this turned on. Finally, the options menu states it has BD Live capability, but clicking it does nothing. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Extras]