Ice Soldiers (2013)

Ice Soldiers

Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson
Starring Dominic Purcell, Adam Beach and Michael Ironside

During the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, a team of elite, genetically-engineered Russian commandos are found in Canada and vanish after killing a camp full of soldiers and raping a doctor.

Fifty years later, fresh-faced quinquagenarian Andrew Malraux (Purcell) is searching for the three Russians, working with an oil company engineer and her mercenary security chief (Ironside) for funding. They find the three frozen, but they thaw and begin another massacre, leaving only Malraux and Inuit trapper TC Cardinal (Beach) to hunt them down.

What’s wrong with it?

The film is pretty dumb. The three Russians are huge, blonde and incredibly stupid; like Ivan Drago with a machine gun. They’re pretty good at mayhem in a small, Alaskan town, but it’s hard to see what they were supposed to do in New York, especially the one who seems incapable of committing a massacre without throwing in a little rape for bad measure.

So, yeah; there’s also the rape, and the fact that the three female characters in the film (not counting the strippers in the gratuitous strip club) are in turn raped, raped and murdered, and dismissively incapacitated, rescued and then forgotten.

Our hero is pretty unconvincing at… pretty much everything, and most of the other characters are bland. The only other ones with much colour to them are Cardinal and the oil company engineer Frazer (Camille Sullivan), and the latter only lasts until the halfway mark before being thrown away to remind us how pointlessly evil the bad guys are.

What’s right with it?

He only shows up halfway through the film, but Beach is pretty good as Cardinal, or maybe he just looks good next to the Doughy Avenger.

How bad is it really?

The gratuitous rapiness really takes this one a step beyond the usual bland bleagh standard. The first instance is kind of justified, as Malraux is the half-moron superman child of the rape, but the fact that the only significant female character in the modern section of the film is raped, murdered and never mentioned again is something else.

Best bit (if such there is)?

TC: Your killers came through here; they were moving fast.
Malraux: How do you know?
TC: Because I’m an Indian. <grins> I always wanted to say that.

There is also a very convincing high-speed snow chase, by which I mean two flumes of snow dodging around each other.

What’s up with…?

  • The idiot rape commandos? They’re supposed to be the most dangerous beings on two legs, but they’re just so dumb and gratuitous.
  • Dominic Purcell? Seriously, why is he in movies at all?
  • Snowshoes? There’s no dignity in that.

Ratings

Production values – The snow is beautiful, and there are some lovely uses of landscape, but overall the film is cheap and cheerful. 14
Dialogue and performances – Beach gets a few good lines, but the rest is pretty stock, and delivered lumpenly. 16
Plot and execution – The plot is uninventive, and unfolds without significant surprises. On the upside, the story is not an excuse for horror porn. The real nastiness is off-screen. 13
Randomness – The second rape is gratuitous, but other than that the film keeps it simple. 5
Waste of potential – The commandos could have been smarter and more threatening, but this is an other film that didn’t have much potential to waste. 5

Overall 53%

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