hristian Duguay's "Extreme Ops", despite the
unfortunate title, is not as bad as it could have been. Which isn't to say it's
especially good, but I had expected worst from a movie advertised as being
another Hollywood attempt to cash in on the extreme sports trend currently
sweeping across lalaland like a snowy mountain avalanche trying to swallow up a
faceless stuntman. Speaking of which, extreme sports stunt people must be
getting tons of work right now, since it seems as if 1 out of every 4 movie
coming out of Hollywood right now throws in at least one gratuitous extreme
sport into the mix.
"Extreme Ops" stars Devon Sawa ("Final
Destination"), looking extremely out of shape and sporting some absurd
facial hair, as Will, one of advertising filmmaker Ian's crew. Ian (Rufus
Sewell) runs the creative side of the ad company, while Ugly American Jeffrey
(Rupert Graves, sounding very British) handles the business end. While trying to
finish up the shoot for an ad, Ian packs up Will, cameraman Mark (Heino Ferch),
and extreme sportsmen Kittie (Jana Pallaske) and Silo (Joe Absolom) for a trip
to the Austrian mountains. Also along for the ride is championship skier Chloe
(Bridgette Wilson), the latest actor in Jeffrey's sexual fantasies.
Up in the mountains, Will accidentally videotapes a Serbian
war criminal thought dead in a plane crash but is instead making out with his
mistress at the same unfinished mountain hotel that the ad people are staying
in. Actually "Extreme Ops", proving the name very unfortunate indeed,
doesn't bother with the Serbian war criminal until almost near the hour mark,
when the Serbian sends his flunkies to silence the ad people.
In the first 60 minutes leading up to the action sequences
shown in the trailer, "Extreme Ops" looks more like a TV show about
pretty people working in the extreme sports business. There's Jeffrey and Ian's
constant bickering about the business; Will's childish infatuation with hottie
snowboarder Kittie; and blonde and pretty Chloe's self-doubts about her ability
as an athlete, not to mention Ian's growing attraction to her. The one character
that appears often in the movie, but seems to be completely ignored by the
script, is Heino Ferch's Mark. For some reason he's in almost every scene, and
yet we know nothing about him except that he likes telling penis jokes about
Ugly American Jeffrey.
If you like lots of scenes of people doing extreme sports
stuff, then "Extreme Ops" is for you. I was not a big fan of extreme
sports when they based an entire movie around it ("XXX")
or when a teenage James Bond was doing it ("Agent
Cody Banks"), and I don't particularly care for it here. Nothing
against the sport itself, but how many scenes of stunt people snowboarding down
a white mountain can you possibly stand before you start wondering when those
evil Serbian war criminals are finally going to make an entrance?
Christian Duguay ("Screamers")
keeps the movie moving well enough that it never gets bogged down. Whenever the
film starts to lag, one of the kids jump on a skateboard and do groovy tricks.
Bridgett Wilson ("Buying
the Cow") is easy on the eyes and her character is vulnerable, while
Rufus Sewell ("Dark
City") seems to be taking the whole thing too seriously. On the other
hand, headliner Devon Sawa needs to get in shape if he wants to continue being a
"Extreme Ops" could have been much worst. It's
not so great as it stands right now, and the whole Serbian angle could have come
in much, much sooner, but at least the film isn't a complete waste.