Siberia (R)

Romance 104 min. July 13, 2018
By Kristen Yoonsoo Kim
Oh, no. If you’re walking into the Keanu Reeves vehicle Siberia, maybe in the middle of the movie, completely uninitiated, you may momentarily mistake it for a parody of John Wick. Then you realize, no, this is taking itself completely seriously, and it’s not even enjoyable enough to laugh at -- not even when Reeves actually says, “You’ve watched too many spy films.” (That’s sort of the whole vibe of Siberia, by the way.) Matthew Ross’ film, an espionage classic wannabe, even has the gall to drop a faux-iconic opening credits sequence à la the intro to a James Bond or Mission: Impossible movie -- as if it were presenting itself as a new thriller on par with the greats. Then it quickly reveals that it very much isn’t one of those.

Reeves’ cool brooding feels far too familiar here -- as if the footage was plucked from John Wick B-rolls -- and it’s misused to a criminal degree. Lucas Hill, Reeves’ American diamond trader, finds himself in a web of Russian crime lords after a deal gone wrong. Things get even more complicated when he falls for Russian bar/cafe owner Katya (Ana Ularu), even though he has a wife back home (surprise, it’s Molly Ringwald, who only shows up in a Skype session that ends abruptly). Katya becomes leverage against Hill, because, of course, there are feelings, but even that is hard to buy because of their forced chemistry. (Their affair starts with Katya suggesting they sleep together because people already assume they’re shacked up.) This movie so badly wants to be a sexy thriller but it is neither sexy nor thrilling.
Matthew Ross Keanu Reeves, Molly Ringwald Saban Films

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