The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I first caught wind of this movie when I was looking up more Bruce Campbell films after (what I like to call) the Maniac Cop debacle. I kind of forgot about it though, until I saw it listed in a post about new flicks available on Netflix Watch Instantly over at Rupert Pupkin Speaks. Usually, about once a month, he does one of those posts, spotlighting new additions to the Watch Instantly line-up, making it a great resource for people who have Netflix and are looking for new things to check out on there. It's actually a recent post entitled "50 Films for 50 States" though that he did, which has me reviewing Icebreaker today, but we'll get into that later.
Icebreaker takes place at the Killington Ski Resort in Vermont. It has Sean Astin as a ski bum wanting to marry the daughter of the owner of the resort, Stacy Keach (he's the owner, not the daughter). At the same time, terrorist Bruce Campbell was looking to get some radioactive material to make a bomb shipped to him in New York, but it unfortunately crashed on the mountain on its way there. Now Astin and Campbell and everyone else are on a collision course to wackiness, and hilarity ensues.
Though this had its moments, it's an overall miss for me. The problem was, it suffered from an identity crisis, because it didn't know if it wanted to be a bad action flick, or a send-up of the bad action genre, and as a result, failed at both. I also think the idea of making a film at Killington came before the idea of what this movie would be about, because, especially at the end, things just seemed to be tossed in there, like Stacy Keach coming from out of nowhere to disarm two guards holding him and a bunch of other people hostage. Then you have Sean Astin as the impossible hero, though due to poor writing, looked like the possible hero, leaving us to wonder where he got the training to take out armed terrorists as well as he did. If you're going to go the comedy route, that's fine, but it's a zero-sum game, and by not going all the way, we were left with zero.
Bruce Campbell was great as always. Even bald he brings it. The problem with him is, he makes such a great baddie that we don't want to see him fail. Couple that with Astin, Keach, etc. as poor heroes, and that made it even worse. Still, there's enough Campbell that he makes this movie somewhat redeemable, so if you're a huge Campbell fan, I'd go for it, especially while it's on Watch Instantly. As an aside, last summer I got to see Evil Dead II in the theater. Really cool, and if you ever get the chance, I'd say go for it too.
I have a buddy who loves Stacy Keach, kind of the way a lot of people, including myself, love Gary Busey, if that makes sense. I want to say his fascination with him started in Escape from LA, but it really took shape after we watched Sunset Grill, a Peter Weller flick. Now he's always like "whoa, it's Keach!" or "gotta love the Keach." I think it's cool though. I'm not sure how he would've felt about Keach in this, but I think he might have approved.
I grew up about three or four hours from Killington, and though I've never been, my high school ski club used to take a trip there once a year, and one time my buddies went. I guess they missed the bus, and some dude and his dad said they could ride with them. First thing the dad says is when they hop in the car: "This is going to be a long ride... I have gas..." Not the petrol type, but the methane type. Needless to say, they made sure they were in time for the bus on the ride back. Anyway, fast forward to about three years ago, when Dateline was doing the whole "To Catch a Predator" thing. One of my buddies who was on that trip gets an e-mail saying that someone we went to high school with was on an episode. So we find the video on YouTube, and we're like "who is this guy?", he wasn't in any yearbook, and none of us could remember him. A couple days later that same buddy is like "dude, Killington trip, we went up with him and his dad!" Good times in Kittery, Maine, let me tell you.
But this isn't about Maine, this is about Vermont, and why I wanted to get this movie in. The post about the movies from the 50 states on Rupert Pupkin Speaks had me thinking I'd like to do something similar here with DTV movies. It's not something I plan to do all at once, but over time, and next week I hope to have a page up with the states we've already done. With Icebreakers, we're just past the halfway point-- though we might be even further along, I'm just not sure about a lot of the movies I've reviewed, because I don't always mention the state it took place in in my posts.
All right, Vermont or no Vermont, other than the Bruce Campbell factor, which don't get me wrong, is still very prodigious, this is an overall miss for me. An identity crisis killed what could've been pretty good had the film makers decided to move in one direction or another. I imagine, whether it's Watch Instantly, or if you're outside the US and you see it cheap on DVD, it might be worth it if you don't invest too much, just because of Campbell; but for me, that amount would have to be very scant.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0179861/