dvd review: ICE-T TRIPLE FEATURE

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Somewhere at Lionsgate there is an employee who was sitting around trying to think of new ways to get consumers to spend even more money on worthless crap they don’t need. This employee, we’ll call him “Bucky”, was no-doubt charged with finding ways to take titles that Lionsgate already owned, and repackage them in a way that would make them seem better. So, there was Bucky, flipping through the catalog of titles, when he realized, “Holy smokes, we’re sitting on three movies with Ice-T, I’m sure there’s a way we can make money off of these!” And so it was Bucky who came up with the brilliant idea of taking three films of questionable cinematic quality from the 1990s—Stealth Fighter, Body Count and Mean Guns—putting them in one DVD case, and slapping “3 Great Movies” on the cover (which is two-thirds true). The final result is the Ice-T Triple Feature, a trio of films that by and large puts the “crap” in craptacular.Entre más poker compares mejor.
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Now, before I get into the actual movies, let me say that as far as acting goes, Ice-T is a good rapper. Seriously. The man can rap. “Rampage on stage my crews in a rage/Searched my posse found the Uzi but missed the 12 gauge/Maniac, I’m a rhyme brainiac/Livin’ on the edge of a razor, remember that.”—that’s some classic gangsta rap right there. But when it comes to acting…well…let’s just say that you gotta love any actor as bad as Ice-T who clearly doesn’t even care that his performances suck. Ice just stands in front of the camera, gives his bad performances, and there’s a twinkle in his eye that seems to be saying, “F**k all y’all, I’m get paid to do this s**t.”

WARNING: These reviews contain spoilers. I will be telling be revealing a crucial plot element from each film, so you don’t have to waste your time with them.

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Stealth Fighter—Ice-T co-stars in this shockingly stupid garbage as Owen Turner, a Navy fighter pilot who fakes his own death, only to resurface as a mercenary who helps a terrorist steal a stealth fighter. Costas Mandylor stars as Ryan Mitchell, the hotshot pilot and all-around good guy that the government dispatches to save the day. Turner and Mitchell are former rivals, which adds “dramatic tension” to the insipid plot, as does Mitchell’s failed marriage that he is trying to salvage. But just as Mitchell swears to his estranged wife (Erika Eleniak) that he has given up his career as a pilot who risks his life for his country, he is called upon to once again save the country—that’s more of what we call “dramatic tension”.

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The thing about Stealth Fighter—aside from the fact it sucks—is that this is more of a Costas Mandylor film than an Ice-T film. And while the dozen or so die-hard fans of Mandylor (that’s not counting his immediate family) might love him in this film, the two best words to describe his performance are “lunk” and “head”. This is not to say Ice-T is any better, because he is a special kind of bad, but Mandylor actually exudes so little charisma that he appears to be working at a deficit. Some people find it hard to buy Ice-T as a Navy fighter pilot, but that is only slightly less absurd than some of the men who have been elected President of the United States. And speaking of the Commander and Chief, Ernie Hudson pretty much steals the film as President Westwood. Watching Hudson is far more entertaining than watching Ice-T “act” villainous or Mandylor “act” heroic. Unfortunately, these are the guys we’re stuck with—at least until Ice-T gets killed. Oops…hope I didn’t give away too much.

Body Count—Here we have yet another Ice-T film where he is only a co-star. What that means is that he is not on screen that much, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The real stars of this almost-but-not-quite-entertaining potboiler are Alyssa Milano and Justin Theroux, who star respectively as Susanne and Daniel. Susanne is joining Daniel, her boyfriend, for Thanksgiving dinner at the palatial estate of his rich family. As it turns out, Daniel’s family is a bunch of annoying, dysfunctional jackasses, which means we don’t care much when Ice-T leads a home invasion that culminates in him and his posse wasting everyone. The only survivors of the massacre are Daniel and Susanne, who were horny and snuck down to the basement for some post-dinner humping. Now, it is a game of cat and mouse as Daniel tries to stop the murderous gang from stealing his family’s priceless art collection. But there is a surprise twist that will only be a surprise or a twist to someone who has never seen a film before (in which case, it is sad that this crap is your first experience with moving pictures).

Body Count is almost good, but not so “almost good” it warrants watching. Milano is easy on the eyes, but she keeps her clothes on, which in and of itself is a major disappointment, and enough reason to avoid this film. Ice-T isn’t terrible in the film, at least so much so that he stands out above anyone else. Tommy “Tiny” Lister gives the best performance of the film (that tells you something right there), and unless you want to see Ice-T get killed, there’s no reason to watch this thing. Oops…hope I didn’t give away too much.

ice-t.jpgMean Guns—Okay, here’s the deal with this film…it kinda/sorta sucks, and at 110 minutes it is about 40 minutes too long, but it is still the most entertaining of the three films in Ice-T Triple Feature. And while it may come as a surprise to some, Ice-T is merely a featured co-star in what amounts to an ensemble cast of has beens and never-quite-was-beens. The biggest star of the film is Christopher Lambert, who will pretty much be in any movie if you give him money, and has the resume to prove it. Lambert co-stars as Lou, a pill-popping psychotic killer who is one of 100 assassins gathered together by Vincent Moon (Ice-T), the head of a ruthless crime syndicate. Moon has brought together a motley assortment of cold-blooded killers who have in one way or another betrayed the syndicate, and pits them against each other in a kill-or-be-killed competition where only three can live, and they will share a prize of $10 million. Did I mention that the killing free-for-all takes place at a brand new prison that has yet to open and has no prisoners? Well, it does.

What works best about Mean Guns—and believe me when I say there ain’t much—is that the plot is simple and it never strays from its simplicity. There is no real character development, and from the way it comes across on screen, writer Andrew Witham spent about as much time writing the script as it takes to watch the movie. In fact, I’m sure the script reads something like this: Lou walks into the room. He kills everyone in sight. He leaves the room. But you know what? There’s a lot to be said for not over-reaching, which is something that Mean Guns never does. And that would be because director Albert Pyun has mastered the fine art of aiming low cinematically, crafting an impressive list of films that range from partially crappy to all-out shit. As it stands, Mean Guns is actually one of Pyun’s finer films (for whatever that’s worth); and it is hard to go wrong with anything starring Christopher Lambert in which Ice-T gets killed as a reward for his terrible acting. Oops…hope I didn’t give away too much.

If you’re a fan of Ice-T’s acting—and it’s okay to admit it—then this collection is for you. But if you don’t much care for bad movies that feature rap stars giving terrible performances, then you might want to avoid this collection. In fact, I’m going to have to say skip this whole mess, as Mean Guns is the only one of the three worth watching, but then only if every single film ever made in the world is somehow not available for you to watch.

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One Response to “dvd review: ICE-T TRIPLE FEATURE”

  1. D-nice Says:

    Funny ,I thought Ice-T was real promising as an actor in New Jack City but yeah he does play his roles with a sort of disbelief to the viewing audience. I thought he was pretty entertaining in that one Leprachaun movie.
    Speaking of Mandylor , Ol’ boy was pretty good in that “Secret Agent Man” show…they should have kept that running.

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