Extreme Ops

The only thing extreme about Extreme Ops is the extreme feeling of lethargy one feels when watching this movie. 'Movie' is probably a compliment, since it feels like a bunch of clips of extreme sports strung together, with a plot added in later when somebody realized that the clips themselves didn't make this feature length. Extreme Ops is like a combination of Out Cold, Extreme Days, XXX, and Vertical Limit, taking all snow related stunts from the previous movies and rolling them into one. Watching people ski or snowboard down mountains can be really cool, but not when it is the majority of a ninety-three minute film.

The excuse for stunts is that Ian (Rufus Sewell, A Knight's Tale, Bless the Child) is filming an extreme sports commercial. He gathered together some of the best athletes in the world to Austria, where they can goof off and shred some killer powder. For the most part, the men, Will (Devon Sawa, Slackers, The Guilty) and Silo (Joe Absolom, Now You See Her) are interchangeable and anonymous. For the women, Kittie (Jana Pallaske, Baader, Engel & Joe) is a punk grrl and Chloe (Bridget Wilson-Sampras, Just Visiting, The Wedding Planner) is an uptight skiing champion who never did anything like this before. There are also some other random people who never are on screen long enough to make an impression.

It takes a while for what little story Michael Zaidan (The Last Tzaddik, A Short Wait Between Trains), Timothy Scott Bogart (Jungle Book: Lost Treasure) and Mark Mullin (The Killing Jar) came up with to start, so a significant portion of the film is all these characters well, doing stunts. If these stunts were exciting it would be one thing, but for the most part they are only ho-hum. However, it seems the guys unknowingly videotaped a Serbian war criminal who tried to fake his own death to escape prosecution, so all of a sudden there are murdering bastards out to get Ian and his stars. Here is where the story sinks even further into incredulity. Attacked with helicopters, machine guns, and all other sorts of weapons, these extreme sports enthusiasts ski and snowboard their way out of danger. Yes, it could be fun in an action movie type way, but it's not.

Much of the fault likes with director Christian Duguay (The Art of War, Joan of Arc). Duguay makes many bad choices in staging his stunts, cutting away when he should stay on the action and zooming in when he should stay further out. As a result, the stunts are choppy and badly edited, making them less impressive then they could potentially seem. None of the characters are interesting. They are all 'extreme' in that they seek danger and yell a lot. Underneath, they have nothing memorable about any of them. It's nice to see new faces in what amounts to a low-budgeted European import, but it stinks when these new faces have nothing to say or do.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence/peril, language, and some nudity.

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