Cast: Traci Lords, Zach Galligan, Philip Troy, Jorge Rivero
P.M. Entertainment currently makes some of the best
movies on the market. Primarily focused on action, their movies
boast slick production values on low budgets, excellent cinematography,
lots of action (excitingly filmed), and a lot of glass being
Rage, and Last Man Standing (not the Bruce
version) are movies that have justified more than one rental from me.
That's not to say that all of their movies are
great - certainly
not. In fact, one of my rules in renting unknown movies is: "Never rent
a movie made by P.M. Entertainment in 1992 or earlier." Same goes for
Richard Pepin/Joseph Merhi earlier company City Lights. And even in
past few years, they still produce the occasional clunker. Anyone see Skyscraper,
a Die Hard-rip-off starring Anna Nicole Smith
as the heroine? Egad, I'll never forget that experience. Back to the
- P.M. Entertainment movies are either very very good or very very bad.
But with Ice, it falls into the middle.
Well, with Traci Lords in the lead role, you can't
really expect greatness.
She's been struggling for years to be taken seriously as an actress,
her performance is strictly B-grade at the best. And she has been
miscast; in A Time To Die (an earlier P.M.
movie), she looked ludicrous swinging a police baton and beating the
out of thugs. Imagine your 12 year-old female cousin acting in such a
- that's exactly how Lords was in that movie. But two years later in
movie, her performance suprised me. I'm not saying she's actually good
in this role, but somehow seeing her thief character knee mafia thugs
the groin and shoot them didn't make me laugh like two years ago.
there is a competent B-movie actress in her after all. Though she has
her baby looks, it has been replaced with a constant pissed-off
on her face and tone of voice We don't laugh at her, but we still can't
identify with her character.
The plot: Ellen (Lords), along with her husband Charlie
are a husband/wife
team of burglars working for insurance companies to recover stolen
Charlie stays in the getaway vehicle while Ellen breaks into mobster
(Rivero) mansion to retrieve some stolen diamonds. After some fancy
and the usual fights/shootings, Ellen barely manages to get away with
goods. Then she discovers that Charlie has no intention of returning
diamonds for a measly $50,000, but to sell them to a fence so that
have enough money to retire. Ellen is reluctant at first, of course,
a tandem saxophone-scored shower scene with her husband (while she
wears her underwear) loosens her up. To her consternation, the fence is
her ne'er-do-well brother Rick, played by Galligan (the guy who
find decent work after Gremlins). Galligan tries to
his image by wearing sunglasses and a day's growth of beard, but fails.
Mobsters break up the meeting, Charlie gets gunned down, and Rick gets
away with the diamonds. As Ellen weeps over her bullet-riddled husband
(people nearby don't seem to have heard the shots), she vows vengeance
and is determined to get the diamonds back.
We certainly get a lot for our money for this movie. The
is provided by an opening robbery with a lot of glass cabinets, glass
and mirrors getting broken in all sorts of different ways. There's
the first time a large mob battle was fought with fists and not
a gun battle. And possibly the first time a hockey referee and hockey
get gunned down in crossfire. Bomb briefcases blow up twice, one of the
times providing a lengthy slow-motion scene of several burning people
around screaming. A fat mob boss (not Malta) gets shot several
and happens to be on the edge of a pool. In fact a lot of mobster goons
get blown away throughout the movie. The highlight is when we learn
was a former club singer, and we get to listen to a recording of one of
her old songs: "Stand tall / When your back's against the wall / You've
finally got it all / Stand tall / Winner takes all / Stand tall."
Certainly, a lot of this is fun to watch. And the movie
the ingredients of a superior P.M. Entertainment movie. So why didn't I
like it as much as others? The energy just isn't there; though we have
the ingredients, they haven't been pumped up with any juice. They are
thrown onto the screen as if the director thought that simply putting a
shoot-out on the screen would be satisfying for an action fan. That's
how it's done; you have to build up believably to whatever you put on
and follow it through to the end and beyond. The director might have
told the actors "Just do it," and left it at that. Maybe that's why
looks so pissed off.
So what do we have here. A movie that's neither good or
bad, but a movie
that's just there. It's the kind of movie for when you have to iron
or cut vegetables. No heavy thinking or attention needed - you know
going to happen and you won't miss anything when your head goes down.
for availability on Amazon (VHS)
for availability on Amazon (DVD)
Check for availability on Amazon (Download)
Amazon for Traci Lords' music album (CD)
See also: Phoenix, Night Of The Running Man, Road