2002 - PG-13 - 93 Mins.
|Director: Christian Duguay
|Producer: Moshe Diamant
|Written By: Michael Zaidan, Timothy Scott Bogart, Mark Mullin
|Starring: Devon Sawa, Rufus Sewell, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Heino Ferch, Joe Absolom
|Review by: Joe Rickey
Extreme action films are quickly carving their own little niche out for themselves with XXX leading the way. Hot on its heels comes Extreme Ops, even more mindless than the aforementioned XXX. The film tells the story of a group of filmmakers who go to a mountain resort to make a snowboarding stunt commercial for the Superbowl and accidentally come upon a group of terrorists who plot to take over the world. The filmmakers must then stop the terrorists in anyway possible. The film is directed by Christian Duguay (The Art of War) and stars Devon Sawa (Final Destination and Slackers).
The script for Extreme Ops written by Michael Zaiden, is full of laughably cheesy one-liners that attempt to mimic those found in James Bond films but are instead, pitifully inept and lame in their attempts at humor. The more serious in tone dialog fares a little better but still is clichéd in many ways. It also struggles in developing a palpable reason for the terrorists’ actions and portrays the terrorists as too stupid to be able to pull off their outrageously complicated plan. I’m surprised that they even knew how to operate their high-powered weapons without killing themselves. The script fails to fully develop any single character so that they come across as more than pawns to the plot. Characterization is certainly not the film’s strong suit. Still, the film is still fun in the way that the also clichéd XXX was fun; it’s so absurd that you can’t help but have fun.
Direction by Duguay is just average, as he thankfully doesn’t go all out with the extreme angle of the equation. He does manage to create some visceral action sequences that are entertaining and also succeeds in taking the PG-13 to the limit with vulgar language, nudity, and violence present but filmed in such a way that the film was able to garner the aforementioned audience friendly rating. Duguay also smartly paces the film so that the audience is never far from another visceral snowboarding sequence or an explosion of some sort so action fans will have plenty to like in ‘Ops.’ The film is almost nonstop slam-bang action sequence after action sequence with little real dramatic depth to the proceedings. The cinematography adequately captures the action but isn’t anything special.
The cast is a mixed bag of B-movie adult actors and middle-of-the-road young actors. Devon Sawa is nondescript as the lead boarder/good guy while Rufus Sewell scowls often as the crazed psychotic terrorist leader. The supporting cast is even more nondescript than the leads.
Overall, Extreme Ops is a sometimes-rousing action yarn with a preposterous plot and stolid script buoyed by exciting action sequences.