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

    Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

    Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

    The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

    Paddington 2 Movie Review

    Paddington 2 Movie Review

    The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

    A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

    A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

    Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

    Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

    Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

    Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

    The Death of Stalin Movie Review

    The Death of Stalin Movie Review

    Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

    Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

    Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

    Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

    Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

    Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

    The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

    Advertisement
    Breathe Movie Review

    Breathe Movie Review

    While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

    The Snowman Movie Review

    The Snowman Movie Review

    With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

    The Party Movie Review

    The Party Movie Review

    Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

    The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

    The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

    Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

    6 Below Movie Review

    6 Below Movie Review

    Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

    Mother Movie Review

    Mother Movie Review

    Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

    Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

    Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

    It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

    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.