Icebreaker (2000)


(2000)- *1\2

Directed by: David Giancola

Starring: Sean Astin, Bruce Campbell, Suzanne Turner, Mark Keppel, and Stacy Keach 

Carl Greig (Campbell) is a terrorist who leads his team of baddies to an unlikely place: Killington Ski Resort in Vermont. They're after some nuclear material found in a downed Russian aircraft. While they're in the midst of pilfering the nuke stuff, they take the time to take the resort and all its partying inhabitants hostage. Mostly this takes place in the dining room, where concerned dad Bill Foster (Keach) is admonishing his daughter Meg (Turner) not to marry the local "ski bum", a guy named Matt (Astin). Naturally, it's up to Matt and his "wacky" forest ranger buddy Beck (Keppel) to save the day. So now the pressure is on for Matt: not only must he stop the baddies using the only skills he knows - mainly snowboarding - but the lives of the hostages AND the approval of his potential father-in-law is on the line. He wants to start a dialogue with the hostage-takers...but what's his ultimate ICEBREAKER?

Icebreaker, let's just say, has some problems. While the above description might make it sound fun and entertaining, sadly, it is not. Yes, of course it's yet another one of those "DieHardInA" movies, but even the "Die Hard on the ski slopes" idea had been done at least twice before: in White Fury (1989) and Crackerjack (1994). While those aren't the greatest films in existence either, both are far superior to Icebreaker in just about every way. Crackerjack has much better production values (most movies have better production values than Icebreaker) and White Fury, while also a very low-budget outing, has that AIP charm to it. When White Fury is kicking your ass, you know you've got a serious problem.

Because Icebreaker has an almost-punishingly cheap and chintzy look to it, it seems likely that any budget it had went to its three principal actors: Keach, Campbell, and Astin. It's amazing that all three of these names actually agreed to be in Icebreaker, essentially a homemade production from the makers of Pressure Point (1997). Unfortunately, Don Mogavero is nowhere in sight. He would save us all.

Fan favorite Bruce Campbell here fills the shoes of the typical Eurotrash baddie. He's bald this time around, and even his typical energy seems tamped down, almost like he realized that no matter how much effort he put in, it would be all for naught. It would be like swimming against the tide of the flat, brain-cell depleting plainness that is Icebreaker. Nothing compelling or interesting ever happens. Yes, there is an exploding helicopter, likely sourced from somewhere else. It was appropriate that, of all possible ski resorts, they went with KILLINGton, but all of this is nothing but one big missed opportunity.

It's all very, very stupid and not in a good or entertaining way. We found Icebreaker to be something of a chore to sit through. While we appreciate that it's hard to make a movie and get it out there, and consequently we hate to be negative about things, we still have to tell the truth about what's going on here. All the more frustratingly, they had all the ingredients to make it good, worthwhile, and entertaining, but the filmmakers never bothered to capitalize on what they had. They played it agonizingly safe and took zero chances or risks with the material.

If you want to see an awesome movie that takes place on the ski slopes, just stick with Hot Dog: The Movie (1984) or Better Off Dead (1985). You know you're in dire straits when the combined talents of Bruce Campbell, Stacy Keach, and Sean Astin don't even make a dent in the monolithic wall of crud that is Icebreaker.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

Also check out a write-up from our buddy, DTVC!

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