Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Christian Duguay
Stars: Rufus Sewell, Devon Sawa, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Rupert Graves, Joe Absolom, Jana Pallaske, Heino Ferch, Klaus Lowitsch, Liliana Komorowska
Running time: 93 minutes.
A group of daring young extreme sports types venture into the Austrian Alps with a film crew, planning to outrun an avalanche for a commercial. While staying at a luxury hotel still under construction atop a remote mountain peak, the crew stumble across a wanted war criminal, presumed dead in a plane crash, and his terrorist gang hiding out. When our heroes capture them on film, the terrorists set out to eliminate them.
This sets the scene for some hot pursuits and ski chases through snow covered wildernesses, helicopter chases, lots of gunplay, and explosions. It’s all improbable, mindless action, with a modicum of violence that proves mildly diverting. Although directed with some flair by Canadian Christian Duguay, who specialises in these B-grade action flicks (Live Wire, Screamers, The Art Of War, etc), the whole thing is ultimately so cliched, formulaic and tired that it is hardly likely to evoke much interest in audiences, or even fans of extreme sports.
Some of the stunts are quite exciting, although much of the skiing action has been seen before in numerous Bond movies. And, as far as nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat action thrillers go, Extreme Ops hardly matches Stallone’s superb Cliffhanger for excitement. Nor is the villain of the piece here (played with a lack of real menace by veteran German actor Klaus Lowitsch) in the same league as John Lithgow’s truly maniacal villain.
Rufus Sewell (Dark City, etc) lends his moody presence to the film, but he looks bored with the whole thing, while Rupert Graves is awfully miscast as the hapless producer, although he brings some comic relief to the material. The rest of the hunky, largely unknown, young cast seem to be merely going through the motions and enjoying their alpine holiday, content to leave the bulk of the hard work to their stunt doubles.