“Extreme Ops” is about snowboarders who run afoul of an evil Serbian terrorist and subsequently use their extreme-sporting skills to save the day. Yes, it’s as stupid as it sounds.
The only interesting thing about the film is the misleading way it’s been advertised. Commercials for it talk about how the snowboarding crew has 24 hours to warn the world about this terrorist’s plot. This dire pronouncement is accompanied by images of American cities being targeted.
The thing is, none of that is in the movie. First of all, our heroes — a film crew shooting an extreme commercial in the Austrian Alps — don’t even encounter the bad guy until the film is an hour old, with only 33 minutes to go. More importantly, though, there is no indication what the terrorist’s plan is. We only know he has faked his own death so he can continue his evil deeds in secret, from the remote mountain location where the snowboarders stumble across him. What those evil deeds are, we have no idea. There’s certainly no mention of a 24-hour deadline, much less a target city. The commercial for this film is far more interesting than the film itself.
Far shorter, too, which is a plus. As mentioned, the plot doesn’t enter the picture until the film is two-thirds over. So what happens in the meantime? Well, lots of snowboarding. Also, plenty of flirting among the members of the crew, and an abundance of juvenile horseplay and tomfoolery. (While the crew takes a train through Europe, two of the members tether their snowboards to the back of the locomotive and snow-surf behind it.)
These are grossly uncompelling characters, written without regard for believability or intelligence. They would be at home in a typical action flick — but typical action flicks don’t waste 60 minutes of their running time before introducing the plot.
Let’s see, the commercial director is Ian (Rufus Sewell), a Brit who’s always arguing on his cellphone with an unseen girlfriend. He’s been forced to take a medal-winning downhill skier as a cast member on the shoot; she is played by Bridgette Wilson, who is married to Pete Sampras, which I guess gets her acting jobs despite her being neither talented nor attractive.
There’s also a scruffy cameraman played by a very chubby Devon Sawa, as well as a few other guys who sort of blend together in my memory; I am not even certain whether there were two or three of them. Oh, and another girl, a very hard-core riotous gal who sings in a hard-rock band and goes snowboarding at 3 a.m. One assumes she smokes pot, but it is not shown.
These bland, forgettable people hang around, play in the snow, and engage in mediocre banter until the bad guy shows up and raises the stakes. Mainly, he introduces what the film really needed: funny accents. The terrorist (Klaus Lowitsch) and his crew are very entertaining to listen to, though I suspect that was not the intent.
The scenes of snowboarding and other extreme-sports behavior do have a certain thrill to them. But even that gets repetitive. I would say three scenes of people fleeing from avalanches is too many for one film, unless the film is ABOUT people who flee from avalanches. But what do I know? I don’t even know what “extreme ops” are.
D (1 hr., 33 min.; )