Chill Factor

"Unbearable"

Chill Factor Review


And the booby prize for the stupidest movie plot of 1999 goes to -- drum roll, please -- "Chill Factor," a brain-dead action flick if there ever was one. It's about a short order cook and a dairy desert delivery driver on the run from deranged ex-military terrorists who want a volatile, explosive, top secret chemical weapon hidden in the back of their ice cream truck.

Don't ask how these two (played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Skeet Ulrich) came to be in possession of such a device. It's too ridiculous to waste time going in to here. All you need to know is that the crystalline compound has to stay below 50 degrees or it'll blow.

This is a joke, right?

A written-in-Crayon amalgam of "Speed," "Outbreak," and any dime-a-dozen movie in which teeth-gritting kooks hold America hostage with a weapon of mass destruction ("Broken Arrow," "Under Siege," "Con Air," take your pick), this flick is a epidemic of innumerable, insultingly obvious plot holes so prevalent that there's no point to writing about anything else in reviewing the movie.

A modest sampling from my notes:

  • High-tailing it away from the baddies before dawn, with a three-minute head start in Gooding's lemon of a refrigerated van, it takes the antagonists on souped-up motorcycles the better part of a morning to catch up to them.

  • Trying to take the most direct route to a military base where they can deliver the weapon, our heroes pick a winding dirt road up the steep side of a mountain that appears to be in the Arizona desert -- even though the movie takes place in Montana.

  • One baddie gets out of a van at the bottom of said mountain with rappelling equipment, then moments later rappels from a cliff at the top...

  • ...before being knocked off the ice cream truck onto the windshield of a tailgating car, whose driver was apparently blissfully unaware of the ongoing bazooka fire around him and the paramilitary goons duking it out on top of the van he's trying to pass.

  • In an absurd switcheroo, Ulrich conveniently finds some unidentified blue goo in a bait shop that, coincidentally, looks enough like the chemical weapon's crystalline core (which he's never seen) to fool the bad guys on close examination.

  • Later Ulrich and Gooding meet the terrorists at a dam in the same geographically incorrect desert, hours from the nearest town, where, inexplicably, a carnival is taking place for the soul purpose of having civilians to threaten.

  • An army unit that arrives during the dam confrontation and has a clear shot at the bad guy, who, if killed, would drop the chemical canister and it would all be over. Nonetheless, the soldiers back off when he rattles the canister at them, even though the thing is still cold and therefore stable.

  • Um, if this stuff is so dangerous when it gets warm, why isn't the container itself refrigerated? It has all kinds of other high-tech gadgets on it, including a LED-readout thermometer, which the camera keeps cutting to (49.6...49.7...49.8...)

    You get the idea.

    For every three minutes of screen time, there are probably two of these moronic mistakes. Then there's the dialogue ("My God! I have become Death, destroyer of worlds!" expounds the scientist who invents the chemical in the first reel. No kidding). And the parade of colossal cliches (doofus local sheriff, military psycho with menacing whisper), and the very, very bad acting from two slipping young stars who used to have better taste in scripts and at least a modicum of talent.

    Ulrich ("Touch," "The Newton Boys") now seems to dream of being little more than a poor man's Johnny Depp and Gooding ("Jerry Maguire," "As Good As It Gets") has rushed headlong into a mannerism-extreme, self-perpetuating stereotype of the non-threatening token black -- almost the modern equivalent of a Stepin Fetchit.

    Understand please, that I like a good check-your-brain-at-the-door action flick as much as the next guy -- the operative word being "good." What qualifies? "Desperado," "Speed," most Jackie Chan movies. But something as criminally pathetic as "Chill Factor" doesn't even come close.



  • Chill Factor

    Facts and Figures

    Run time: 102 mins

    In Theaters: Wednesday 1st September 1999

    Box Office Worldwide: $11.3M

    Budget: $70M

    Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

    Production compaines: Morgan Creek Productions

    Reviews

    Contactmusic.com: 0.5 / 5

    Rotten Tomatoes: 11%
    Fresh: 8 Rotten: 68

    IMDB: 5.2 / 10

    Cast & Crew

    Director: Hugh Johnson

    Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr. as Arlo, as Tim Mason, as Col. Andrew Brynner, as Dr. Richard Long, as Col. Leo Vitelli, as Dennis, as Carl, as Vaughn, as Telstar

    Also starring:

    Contactmusic


    Links



    Advertisement

    New Movies

    Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

    Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

    After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

    David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

    David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

    The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

    The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

    The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

    Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

    Pete's Dragon Movie Review

    Pete's Dragon Movie Review

    This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

    The Shallows Movie Review

    The Shallows Movie Review

    With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

    Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

    Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

    Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

    Nerve Movie Review

    Nerve Movie Review

    With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

    Advertisement
    The Carer Movie Review

    The Carer Movie Review

    Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

    Born to Be Blue Movie Review

    Born to Be Blue Movie Review

    Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

    Jason Bourne Movie Review

    Jason Bourne Movie Review

    It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

    The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

    The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

    Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

    The BFG Movie Review

    The BFG Movie Review

    For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

    Finding Dory Movie Review

    Finding Dory Movie Review

    It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

    Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

    Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

    This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

    Advertisement
    Artists
    Actors
      Filmmakers
        Artists
        Bands
          Musicians
            Artists
            Celebrities
               
                Artists
                Interviews
                  musicians & bands in the news
                    actors & filmmakers in the news
                      celebrities in the news

                        Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.