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Friday, January 25 12:00 AM ET

Trailer Review: Untraceable

By Brian Briggs

UntraceableIs it too late to change my mind about watching the movies of the trailers I review?  Would I appear weak if I gave up now?  This week's trailer, Untraceable, makes me question my judgment.  I knew it was going to be tough going in January, but I didn't know how tough.  Now I have more reasons to anticipate spring, better movies will be released.

I'm sure doctors have the same "No way" moments watching medical dramas that geeks have watching "cyber thrillers."  Those moments when you say to yourself, "WTF? That couldn't happen," or at least the medical equivalent. This trailer has many of those moments, and that's not a good sign.

OMG, she's using Internet Explorer!

First, we set up Jodie Foster (sorry not a big enough budget) Diane Lane as a successful cyber crime fighter for the FBI.  From her computer at the office, she tracks down a criminal and sends in the infantry to take him down.  She goes home to her daughter to celebrate the successful takedown.

A cryptic note leads her to a new Web site called Every hit brings the victim closer to death (the webmaster in me is thinking, do they mean hits or page views?)  The more visits the quicker the death. 

Our cybercrime specialist proclaims the site "untraceable." That might give the movie its title, but I'm sure every geek's first thought was "no site is untraceable" then goes through in their mind how they would go about tracing it.  This is a high-traffic site that's streaming video, those requests have to be routed somewhere. 

Next, we see the Streisand effect in action.  The FBI holds a press conference to announce a second victim and urges people to not visit the site. Like geeks to a Shatner autograph signing, the gawkers hit the site, and the victim dies in twenty minutes.

No Face
His face is untraceable!

The killer isn't after the victims though.  He's after Jodie Foster Diane Lane.   He's even hacked into her wireless network "which means he can see every one of my keystrokes." Um… no. 

First, to see her keystrokes he'd have to install some software, not just be on her network.  Second, you'd think the head of the cybercrimes division would have a more secure network.  You know, like running a secure operating system, so some random guy can't install a keylogger on her computer. 

Maybe, those precautions wouldn't have been enough anyway.  He made an "untraceable" Web site, remember?  His expertise doesn't stop there, though. "He hacked into my car's computer!" Oh geez.  Why would he go to the trouble of hacking into the car's computer?  How did he program the radio to come on at the precise time with a broadcast of his voice?  Weren't there easier ways to get her alone in a disabled car?


Trailer Quicktime

Diane Lane
Colin Hanks

Director Gregory Hoblit
Official Site Link
US Opening

January 25, 2008

Rated R
Genre Thriller
Run time 100 minutes
Explosions 0
Weapons Assault rifles, handguns
Man Quotient


Déjà Vu
Silence of the Modems
Geek Factor 45%
See Trailer? No
See Movie? No (verified)
Follow Up Here

Fun with IMDb: From the director of "Cop Rock," the star of "Cattle Annie and Little Britches," and the writers of nothing comes a cyberthriller filmed on the same location as the hit sitcom "Hello Larry."

Ending Prognostication:  There will be a twist and the guy will be someone she knows.  She'll kill the guy.

Conclusion on Trailer: The trailer has one of the lowest man-quotients (0.8) in memory.  It has plenty of technical groaners which I'm sure are perfectly explained in the movie </sarcasm>.  It furthers the stereotype that the Internet is where evil people go to kill.  I can't recommend watching this trailer.

Conclusion on Movie:  Untraceable? More like Unwatchable, especially for geeks.  It appears targeted at soccer moms who know nothing about technology.  Hopefully, it will have a positive impact by keeping those people off the Internet.  Always look on the bright side of life.


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