Snow Kill (1990)- * *
Directed by: Thomas J. Wright
Starring: Joey Travolta, Jon Cypher, Patty D'Arbanville, David Dukes, Terence Knox, Clayton Rohner, Lee Arenberg, and Branscombe Richmond
Forced to go on one of those annoying "corporate retreats" by their boss, Reid (Cypher), a small group of young professionals - who include Myles (Travolta), Lauren (D'Arbanville), and Dennis (Rohner) - head out to the snowy Cascades in Utah. While they all innocently think they're going to do some snow stuff and then go home, they get a rude awakening when a gang of baddies come upon them. The leader is Murdoch (Dukes), and his partners in crime are Loomis (Richmond) and Kolt (Arenberg). Murdoch just wants to get his backpack full of cocaine and head back into civilization. But the presence of the heroic Clayton Thorpe (Knox) puts a crimp in their evil plans. Soon, it's a battle of the corporate raiders versus the actual raiders. Who will come out alive - and who will be a victim of a SNOW KILL?
In the grand (?) tradition of White Fury (1989) and Icebreaker (2000) comes Snow Kill - the TV Movie version of the snowbound action/survival movie. With elements of like-minded efforts like Fear (1988) and Damned River (1989), this doesn't offer much of anything different, except for a few silly moments. But the silliness is few and far between, and it's not terribly interesting or exciting either. It doesn't go far enough in any one direction. Consequently, it's not all that memorable.
Because there are only traces of silly, and the pace is slack, the audience is left wanting more. If Snow Kill had been 80 minutes and had excitement and energy, we could be looking at a minor classic. Unfortunately, that was too much to ask for this middle-of-the-road effort.
If you tell anyone you're going to watch Snow Kill with David Dukes, make sure you avoid any confusion and really impress upon them the fact that it's Dukes with an S. His performance as the mustachioed baddie is one of the better aspects of the film. Terence Knox is certainly wooden here as the savior in white (remember again that it's David DUKES as the baddie). This is no Tripwire (1989), that's for sure.
The boss, Reid, looks a lot like Lloyd Bridges, and the whole thing is like Extreme Ops (2002), but featuring an older demographic. Joey Travolta is his classic wacky self, and he had already appeared in a film with similar subject matter (but done much better), Hunter's Blood (1986). He must like getting out in the wilderness.
One of the rare movie highlights appears when our group of protagonists first gets out of the office and out in the snow. They're all wearing snowsuits of one color (i.e. D'Arbanville has a pink one, the others have green, red, and blue ones, etc.) it's like Power Rangers. But without the power. Or the ranging.
Director Thomas J. Wright has worked almost exclusively in TV throughout his career, which might explain why his name is not that well known to the general moviegoing populace. One of his few forays into cinematic territory is the all-time classic No Holds Barred (1989). Hey, if you're going to make one theatrical film, make it a good one. If only more of the vibe of No Holds Barred could have been present in Snow Kill, made only the following year. Oh well.
You won't exactly be on the edge of the seat of your ski gondola, but perhaps Snow Kill might be a one-time watch for TV Movie enthusiasts or those looking for something just silly enough to be mildly - very mildly - entertained.