With a shaggy Keanu Reeves taking on Russian gangsters over a cache of stolen diamonds, Siberia bears all the markings of the perfect holdover until next year's John Wick 3. But while a cursory glance could see Siberia’s Lucas Hill pass for Wick on dress-down Friday, that's where the similarity ends.
Heading to Siberia in an entirely inappropriate overcoat (“I dressed for St. Petersburg”), Hill is almost immediately rolled by two local thugs, only for a kindly Siberian café owner to take him in. What follows is an awkward romance that is neither convincing nor appropriate — as much for the imminent threat of Russian goons as the existence of Reeves’ American wife (an underused Molly Ringwald).
Directed by Frank & Lola’s Matthew Ross, Siberia is caught somewhere between leaden crime drama and deeply unsexy thriller as Reeves (solid, but on autopilot) spends most of the film killing time while apparently waiting for it to end. When not half-heartedly trying to locate his missing stones, he heads off on a bear-hunting trip with Katya's burly brothers, presents her with a candle and then, when shit gets real, leaves his absentee partner a few mildly admonishing voicemails. Hints of a deeper layer to be uncovered prove misleading, saddling us with a tepid romance that is at once seedy (Katya entreats Hill to shout his wife's name during sex) and devoid of passion, punctuated by a nasty bit of misogyny when Hill and Katya finally fall foul of his disappointed buyer (a skin-crawling Pasha D. Lychnikoff).
With no chemistry, little excitement and an overarching crime plot that's painfully dull, Siberia is as emotionally numbing as its frigid setting. A lifeless tale blanketed with a lethargic nihilism that smothers what little story there is from beginning to end.