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Cool as Ice Reviews

Smoother than an L.A. rapper ... more powerful than a group of men with baseball bats ... able to leap white cars--and women--with a cheesy motorbike. Look, out on the stage! It's a mess! It's a shame! Yes, it's Vanilla Ice! Starring in ... COOL AS ICE. As the Great White Hope marks his feature debut, fans and enemies alike are forced to loan a piece of career advice to the rapper turned actor: PROCEED WITH CAUTION! Johnny Van Owen (Vanilla Ice) arrives in town--which town is anyone's guess--with his all-black, rapping, biker posse. When a motorcycle breaks down and can't be fixed quickly they're forced to chill, which is exactly what they're doing when Johnny spots Kathy Winslow (Kristen Minter) riding her horse by the roadside. To get Kathy's attention, Johnny speeds up on his motorbike and jumps in front of her, pitching both Kathy and the horse to the ground--a romantic beginning, no? A superlative horsewoman and A-student in high school, Kathy is interviewed on national television, where her proud father Gordon Winslow (Michael Gross) gives a five-minute speech about his wonderful daughter. Johnny happnes to watch this gushfest on TV and discovers that Kathy lives in the same town--across the street, no less. Also watching are a group of ex-cops, former friends of Kathy's father, who threatened to wipe out his family after he squealed on their shady activities 17 years earlier. For the past 15 years the Hackett clan--now the Winslows--have been hiding under the federal witness protection program. Not anymore. The bad guys want reparation--the half million dollars they believe Mr. Winslow absconded with. And they'll do anything to get it back. Meanwhile, Kathy, increasingly annoyed with her boyfriend, Nick (or Dick, as Johnny fondly calls him), becomes more and more intrigued by Johnny's crass, er, charm. And since Johnny's conveniently stolen her daily planner, he has ample opportunity to tickle her fancy. After he returns her Week-at-a-Glance she decides to spend a carefree day with the rapmaster rebel. Kathy and Johnny fall in love that very day. But when Johnny is inadvertently mistaken for one of the Winslow/Hacketts, Dad forbids the now besotted Kathy to see him--his family's safety is at stake. When the bad guys kidnap Kathy's little brother, Tommy (Victor DiMattia), Dad is convinced it's all Johnny's fault. Kathy, convinced that it is not Johnny's fault, runs to find him. Johnny then proceeds to rescue Tommy from the bad guys. What a hero. Within COOL AS ICE's central love story are woven club scenes, dance performances and other ghastly moments. Although these supposedly occur in "real time," eccentric editing techniques attempt to advance the action by constantly cutting to the next moment, which brings us absolutely nowhere. When, for example, Johnny and cohorts sing "I Wanna' Thank You ..." onstage at the local hangout, The Sugar Shack, the viewer is subjected to a montage of some two hundred jump-cuts which turns the performance into a veritable music video that must have taken a month to shoot! The viewer--if he or she's still in the audience--is left utterly disoriented. The soundtrack itself is a disappointment, the only salvation being the Vanilla Ice theme, which is not unlike the "Theme from SHAFT," in that every time Johnny walks off somewhere there is a recurring master mix, record scratch--if nothing else, it serves for a good laugh. The performances, surprisingly, are not bad at all. Kristen Minter does well with what she has, as does Vanilla himself. However, it's impossible to take anything seriously--the film's dramatic premise is utterly insupportable and David Kellogg's direction renders the choices flat. Kellogg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski attempt to enliven the proceedings with a couple of high-speed and slow-motion scenes, multi-angle tracking scenes, excessive fog filtration, and other tricks--all clearly inserted without proper thought process or motivation. COOL AS ICE is simply dumb as ... Favorite lines: "Drop that zero and get with the hero ... You live your life for someone else--you ain't livin' ..." Perhaps an extended music video would have been the best place to display Ice's talents.