|"I'm not quite as stupid as I look. The people who made this movie and gave me a nice fat paycheque are far more stupid than I could ever be.|
Dir. Sturla Gunnarson, Starring: Dominic Purcell, Adam Beach, Michael Ironside, Gabriel Hogan
Review By Greg Klymkiw
The Cuban Missile Crisis is in full swing whilst up in the Canadian Arctic, a bunch of Americans at a military outpost go out onto the Tundra to investigate a mysterious crash. Here they find three gentlemen with identical blonde haircuts who all bear a resemblance to Dolph Lundgren in his prime. They're encased in pods and appear to be dead. The biggest of them (Gabriel Hogan) opens his eyes.
Cut to: The Military outpost. Dolph Lundgren Lookalike #1 (DLL#1) is strapped down in a metal containment area. One of the characters TELLS US how dangerous DLL#1 is. He TELLS US he lost half of his men. He TELLS US they needed to plug several high-power tranquilizers in the Hairless Aryan Beast.
So, a quick question. How then do we know we're watching a Canadian movie? Any thoughts? Give up? Okay, for those dim bulbs out there who can't quite get it, the answer is simple. The movie is set in Canada, with a bunch of Canadian actors playing Americans and there clearly wasn't enough money to actually shoot the spectacular carnage - even though it's the beginning of the movie and you'd probably want to open with a bang, not a whimper. But it's a Canadian movie, so a whimper it will be and instead of seeing the wham-bam, we must be told about it.
Another clue is that the outpost's scientist is a babe-o-licious French gal from La Bell Province. The sultry Quebecois brunette looks sadly upon the blonde, super-ripped, manacled DLL#1 and makes it clear her only interest is his well being. He eyes her lasciviously. Hmmmm.
When the 3 DLLs break free, they kill all the men - quite unspectacularly. After all, this is a Canadian movie pretending to be an American movie and as such, there's no money to deliver-up the goods. Our brunette French gal is spared, but not before being raped off-screen by DLL#1. It has to happen off-screen because - come on, guess! Oh, okay. I'll tell you. It's a Canadian movie and Canadians are far too civilized to put a rape scene up there for all to see. God knows, if they did that, they might also violate the content conditions placed on them to receive taxpayer money to finance a good chunk of the film via tax credits and/or investment.
Up to this point, the movie's pretty much been a washout in the action, suspense and gratuitous rape scene department, but because the film is set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, we get to see the soldiers watching a live telecast of JFK during some of the tenser moments with the threat to America from the Russkies. By default, this old news footage wins a Kewpie Doll for being the most suspenseful stuff thus far.
So, let us flash forward 50 years later. A group of soldiers for hire (led by Michael "What the fuck am I doing in this piece of shit?" Ironside) and a Blonde Babe-o-licious scientist are there on behalf of an oil company to do whatever it is they're supposed to do. They have another mission: to assist Malraux (Dominic Purcell) a beefy, BRUNETTE Dolph Lundgren lookalike SCIENTIST from La Belle Province who is there to search for the bodies of the mysterious DLLs who wiped everyone out in the backstory.
At this woeful point, I did the math and frankly, it was of the 1 + 1 = 2 variety. A mysterious dark haired Dolph Lundgren lookalike scientist with a French surname is really interested in finding the three Blonde Dolph Lundgren lookalikes who murdered everyone on the base 50 years earlier and raped (demurely off-screen) the French woman scientist who was brunette and left alive. Add to the equation, a really stupid piece of dialogue where the Blonde Babe scientist states how young looking Dominic Purcell looks and that she expected someone who was 50 years old and voila! The supposedly shocker ending comes about 20 minutes into the movie. (Oh, and anyone who couldn't figure this out by this point is a moron, so you do not have my sympathy for what you might call a "spoiler".)
Okay, the movie is pretty awful by this point anyway, but any hope it would get better was dashed when I realize that the good guy is the biological son of the main bad guy. And yup, the bad guys are superhuman clones developed by the Russkies during the Cold War with a mission to destroy New York City in a terrorist attack and the good guy is the bastard child of one of them and seeks to stop their deadly mission AND get payback for the rape of his mother.
Oh, I kid you not.
The stupidities don't end there. Purcell eventually finds the bodies of the Lundgren Boys all by his lonesome. He knows damn well who they are, but he has them moved to the outpost to do tests on them just to make sure. Good idea. This gives them a chance to break free, kill everyone (boringly and with no genuine action movie flourish) and head to the nearest town (in the fucking Arctic!!!!?????) to kill everyone, including the strippers (in the fucking Arctic? Just around the corner from Santa's workshop????) and hijack a plane to New York. Why these clowns decided to take a rest in the snow and stay frozen for 50 years instead of continuing their mission in the first place is beyond me.
I guess if they did, there wouldn't be a movie. That, however, wouldn't be the stupidest idea I've heard in awhile since there really is no reason for Ice Soldiers to exist. That this film was made takes the prize for that.
Look, a whole lot of nothing happens in this purported movie until the final confrontation. There are a few poorly directed action scenes, a lot of really stupid dialogue, and more anachronisms and inaccuracies than one would find in the absolute worst Grade Z 50s science fiction films. When the final confrontation comes, it's a washout since the film's director has no idea of how to direct action scenes and, in fairness, probably didn't have the budget for it since, one imagines, a good chunk of that change went into someone else's pocket.
On the plus side, there's some fine outdoor photography by one of Canada's best cinematographers Stephen Reizes. If there'd been something resembling a script and a director, this could have been a decent low-budget action thriller. (His individual shots during the action scenes are fine - what goes on in them and how lamely they're cut is the problem.)
|I'm a great actor, but a paycheque|
is a paycheque, even if I have to
play a stereotypical Aboriginal
trapper who guides the hero
through an Arctic forest
above the tree line.
He's also skilled in the ways of the Arctic. Even though there are no trees in the Arctic, he manages to guide Dominic Purcell through a thick forest to find the bad guy.
Our movie draws to a close with Adam Beach setting up a Native funeral pyre as he and Purcell watch the Dolph Lundgren lookalikes burn until Purcell utters the knee-slappingly hilarious lines:
"He was my Father! He raped my Mother!"
These are lines worthy only of a screenwriter who penned dumb dialogue for the real Dolph Lundgren. Oh, mercy me! That's the case. Screenwriter Jonathan Tydor wrote the crappy 1990 Dolph Lundgren movie I Come in Peace.
Oy! Only a Canadian would be pathetic enough to shake the dust off someone like Tydor to write a script for their movie. About the only thing that can really be said in this picture's favour is that it's better than Passchendaele, the worst Canadian movie of all time.
Ice Soldiers is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from levelFilm.
NOW HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS, I HAVE ON OFFER, ONE FREE DVD COPY OF ICE SOLDIERS TO THE FIRST PERSON WHO SENDS IN THEIR ANSWER TO THE FOLLOWING TRIVIA QUESTION. IN ICE SOLDIERS, THERE IS A LAME CROSSING THE ICE FLOE SUSPENSE SCENE. NAME THE DIRECTOR AND TITLE OF THE FAMOUS SILENT MOVIE FROM BIOGRAPH PICTURES THAT HAS SUCH A SCENE AND NAME THE DIRECTOR AND TITLE OF THE RUSSIAN FILM WHICH FEATURES A BATTLE SCENE ON ICE FLOES. SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO klymkiwfilmcornerATyahooDOTca AND IF YOU HAVE THE CORRECT ANSWER FIRST, YOU WILL WIN!!!!