According to one reference source, 'The name "chaos theory" comes from the fact that the systems that the theory describes are apparently disordered, but chaos theory is really about finding the underlying order in apparently random data.', and to enjoy the ride in this action film, understanding the chaos theory is helpful if not essential. In writing and directing CHAOS, Tony Giglio (as he explains in one of the featurettes on the DVD) worked to make an action movie that was more than just pyrotechnics and killing (though those are in abundance in this film!), and instead return to the atmosphere of older 'French Connection' type crime dramas. To accomplish this he uses the chaos theory to create just enough twists to keep the audience surprised. If the film doesn't open new doors for the genre, it certainly supplies enough entertainment to make it worth watching.
The film opens on a bridge in Seattle where an incident involving detective Quentin Connors (Jason Statham) and another unidentified detective results in Connors being dismissed from the police force. A sophisticated bank heist ensues and the head of the heist is one Lorenz (Wesley Snipes) who, when surrounded by the police after an explosion jolts the neighborhood, demands to negotiate the hostages situation with Connors: Captain Jenkins (Henry Czerny) and a new police recruit Detective Shane Dekker (Ryan Phillippe) recruit the reluctant, fired Connors to return to Seattle to take charge - with Dekker as his partner. From this point on the story is a mélange of mind-bending assaults on the back using the chaos theory to trace the elements of discovery. Just when the audience is comfortable with knowing the good guys from the bad guys, the chessboard turns and surprises occur that leave the story with a sense of incomplete thought on the part of the script, but also an appreciation for the degree of suspense the story has presented.
The strong character in the film is Ryan Phillippe who is able to hold his own with the practiced action hero antics of Statham and Snipes. There are some standout cameos, such as Keegan Connor Tracy who has one of the more sensually seductive roles on film, Henry Czerny as the forceful super chief, and Justine Waddell and Nicholas Lea as the detectives who shoulder the only truth in the tale. Not a great action movie but one with a modicum of intelligence that makes is rise above the many others in this category. Grady Harp, February 08