By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated September 15, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

How cold is it in Antarctica? Cold enough for hands to freeze — but lips to remain kissing soft. Or at least that’s the bad news/good news for Kate Beckinsale as a comely U.S. marshal at an ice-encrusted American research station, investigating a homicide when not battling flashbacks of Something Bad that once happened to her in Miami. Whiteout is a conventionally jam-packed, dutifully ludicrous action thriller, based on a graphic novel, which features the lithe marshal in a steamy shower and a chase scene in zero-degree visibility (the bad guy wields a scary pickax). As a bonus, a team of screenwriters devised a prologue involving those sturdiest of menaces — 1950s-style Russians swigging vodka. Ah, but are they merely red herrings? C+

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