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Movie Review:
Extreme Ops
By Matt Singer

12.23.02


I hope Extreme Ops was fun to make, with all that snowboarding and skiing and whatnot, because it certainly wasn’t fun to watch. An hour of extreme stunts followed by forty-five minutes of running from gun-toting Serbs, it offers one of the most uninspiring experiences in theaters this holiday season. Virtually plotless, jokeless, and thrillless, it is a catastrophe of crappy proportions; a “craptastrophe” if you will.

The film’s trailers and commercials attempt to put it off as a “snowboarders versus terrorists” movie; which, if true, would be a movie good for some absurd thrills, at the very least. I distinctly recall the trailer mentioning something about “uncovering a plot” and having to escape to “warn the world.” In reality, or the flimsy interpretation of reality the film offers, the terrorists are really one escaped war criminal (think a buffer and balder version of Slobodan Milosevich) and his buddies and mistress, and the snowboarders haven’t uncovered anything, they merely stumbled across this guy, and the very knowledge of his existence is enough to send him into a murderous rage. Also, this hunt nonsense is limited to the end of the film - it’s really little more than an overblown subplot.

Before this Extreme Ops rambles from one stunt setup to the next, with only the premise of a “production crew making a commercial” to sustain it. The director is played by Rufus Sewell, and his assortment of snowboarders and skiers include Bridgette Wilson-Sampras and a chubby Devon Sawa. They like to perform such reckless stunts as skateboarding on top of trains, snowboarding at night, and performing lines that would have sounded hackneyed to Ed Wood. For reasons kept unclear to the audience, the crew decides to film themselves outrunning an avalanche as part of their commercial.

They travel to Austria, where avalanches are a dime a dozen apparently, and it’s on a “remote mountain peak” that they find those pesky war criminals, who don’t take kindly on being accidentally videotaped making out with their materialistic girlfriends. Of course, by the time the movie’s settled on milking this situation for drama, the audience is already fleeing for the exits. With a mostly plotless movie and mostly witless characters, our brains are invited to wander onto such fascinating topics as counting the number of lights in the theater ceiling and trying guess which audience member will walk out first.


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I did enjoy the extreme stupidity of Silo (Joe Absolom) who has the indignity of being the only character shown naked, and also the one who gets the lion’s share of stinker lines. Introducing himself to the group for the first time, he shouts what sounded to me like, “’Sup sitches?” I am unfamiliar with the term “sitches” which made its enthusiastic delivery that much more entertaining. Suffice it to say that I’ll be calling lots of people “sitches” in the near future.

Simply put, there is nothing to see in Extreme Ops that you can’t find on ESPN2 or an IMAX movie where the impressive stunts are put into a context that allows their beauty to be admired without a tiresome plot. Two years ago, I was duped into seeing the film Vertical Limit, which had enough exciting moments to fill a two minute trailer, and not a second more. Extreme Ops doesn’t even have that much entertainment. Weirdos like me might enjoy the sheer awfulness of it all, the clunky plotting, the atrocious dialogue, but your average moviegoer? They’re better off watching the Yule Log this December.

 

 
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