(Canada - 2014)
SHOCK WAVES caught in the Polar Vortex and paired with UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, but brought down by sluggish pacing and lackluster greenscreen and CGI, then you've got a pretty good idea of how ICE SOLDIERS plays out. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, while America is focused on Cuba, the Russians have deployed three genetically-engineered super soldiers to launch a terrorist attack on NYC. But their plane crashes in the barren tundra of northernmost Canada and they're discovered by some scientists at a nearby military base, who are promptly killed as the "Ice Soldiers" vanish in the endless, frozen wilderness. 50 years later, scientists Malraux (Dominic Purcell) and Lobokoff (Nicu Branzea) get funding from an oil company to ostensibly drill for crude but really to search for the Ice Soldiers, who Malraux believes are still at large. Also along are micro-managing oil company ballbuster Frazer (Camille Sullivan), who hired a crew of money-hungry crew of mercenaries led by Col. Trump (the great Michael Ironside). With a blizzard on the way, Frazer and Trump call an early end to the expedition until Malraux discovers the frozen bodies of the three Ice Soldiers who, miraculously, still show faint signs of life. Frazer and Trump see endless riches but Malraux has a change of heart and tries to terminate the life support for the Ice Soldiers, who proceed to kill everyone but Malraux and again escape. On his own in the middle of nowhere, Malraux encounters Native American TC Cardinal (Adam Beach) and hires him to help track the Ice Soldiers, who have retained their intelligence and still plan to go forth with their half-century-old plan of attacking NYC.
Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson (BEOWOLF & GRENDEL) and written by Jonathan Tydor (I COME IN PEACE), ICE SOLDIERS gets off to a decent start and gets a lift from an enjoyably growly Ironside in vintage "Michael Ironside" mode. Even Purcell is better than usual and the film has some amusingly goofy asides, like the Ice Soldiers commandeering an SUV and discovering their affinity for rap music and trashy women. But with 90% of the cast killed off by the midway point, the pace slows significantly and Gunnarsson and Tydor fall victim to clichés and plot convenience. Of course Cardinal has a drinking problem. And when the trail of the Ice Soldiers leads Malraux and Cardinal to the nearest town, they're immediately arrested for no reason other than increasing the body count when the dumb--and soon-to-be dead--cops don't buy their story. By the time Malraux brawls it out with the lead Ice Soldier (Gabriel Hogan), it's very likely that you'll be as checked out of this as its makers. (R, 95 mins)
RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE
(US - 2014)
Note: though in English, this is the French trailer for the film, hence the "Un Film de Ashley Cahill," which is not some pretentiously douchey stab at humor on his part.