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Chill Factor (1999)
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Review Date: August 26, 1999
Director: Hugh Johnson
Writer: Drew Gitlin, Mike Cheda
Producers: James G. Robinson
Actors:
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Skeet Ulrich
Plot:
A graveyard shift regular working Joe and ice cream truck driver fall onto a malicious plan by an ex-Army general, to propose a nuclear device to international prospects. When the device suddenly falls into their reluctant laps, they must keep it cool on ice, and rush it over to an Army base, before the contraption ticks over 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and kills millions of people.
Critique:
"SPEED on an ice-cream truck" is probably the pitch that was used to sell this one-tone movie to its backers, but unfortunately, the only way that anyone could compare this film to that tension-filled, original two hours of cinema, is in its distinct honor of being the complete opposite of what that film, and the LETHAL WEAPON movies, stood for. This film is seasoned in cliches, with plenty of badly written dialogue, over the top acting from Cuba Gooding Jr., zero chemistry between the two leads, and horribly tacky bad guys, tossed in to complete an overall bad movie recipe. My friend and I enjoyed watching this movie to a certain extent, because some of the lines in it were so bad and obviously "written", that we just had to crack up. That, and the formula for the film's script which followed the proverbial 1-2-, and you guessed it...3 scenario! And what about all those catchy, hip names to get us to relate to the characters...."Elvis" and "Nighshift", oh what talent lies in the minds of these screenwriters (And yes, it actually took two guys to come up with this regurgitated drivel).

It is unfathomable to me as to how actors Skeet Ulrich and Cuba Gooding Jr. got involved in this one-week-old-blue-cheese-smelling project. Did they actually think that it would boost their careers, or did they know that the script sucked, but discounted any fall from grace, knowing full well that the stack of cash in their back pockets would pad their fall? Most probably the latter. Have you seen either FLED or BULLETPROOF? Well, despite the slight differences in plot, the essentials are basically the same here. You get a black guy and a white guy being chased by a bunch of people, having no choice but to work together to get somewhere, hating each other at first, but over time, learning to respect one another as individuals. Yawn. Add to that, the fact that our film actually has bad guys who are all dressed in black, drive black cars and black vans, and run around with all kinds of telecommunicative devices sprinkled around their head. Not too conspicuous, eh? Call me a party-pooper, but as much as I like a nice cheezy movie as much as the next guy, this film just doesn't even try to do anything original or reasonably entertaining. One cool scene with a boat careening down a mountainside, and another with a nuclear device obliterating everything on an island, do not a fun, buddy-action flick make. Show Cuba the money, everybody! :)
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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