"Aren't you scared?" -- "Yeah, that's the best part."
Extreme Ops
Review by Ross Anthony

"Extreme Ops" exceeds expectations. Good fun, good action, good acting, good dialogue, good pace, good cinematography. Even the plot line almost completes its curves in the snow. Unfortunately, one or two progressions in the third act are blatant compromises in logic for action. And though that action rushes Extreme Opsdownhill like an avalanche, well, an "in tact" plot line would have garnished this film an "A" rating.

Still, "Ops" creates a pretty good sense of believably with which to display all that fun snowboarding, skiing and skateboarding. The acting and dialogue are both surprisingly and refreshingly crisp. And the teaming of a peppermint blonde gold medal downhill skier with a crew of extreme snowboarders makes for some very nice depth. I like this source of tension better than that which is used for the climax. But, though the traditional vs. extreme sportsperson clash could have been fleshed out even further, the dynamic plays warmly in this snow-covered picture.

Just as much fun, the mini cat fights between on-screen director and producer as Extreme Opsthey seek to shoot some extreme sport commercials. In fact, the shots of cinematographers at work are just as thrilling as the action they are capturing: A 35mm camera mounted to the front end of a kayak drops vertically down a 100-foot waterfall, a snowboarder speed-weaves downhill while operating a 35mm steadicam. Awesome.

Even with those one or two scripting implausibilities, a very very strong B+. Worth seeing also: "Ski to the Max" an awesome Large Format picture.

"What are you trying to do? Kill us?
"What do you want me to do?"
"Not kill us!"

"I get a stronger performance from my actors when I'm right out there with them," says director Christian Duguay (of "Joan of Arc"), who careened down the mountain with a steadicam to get the shots he wanted, "I always do my own camerawork. It's my passion and I believe it creates a closer relationship with the actors while building a more intimate link between the movement and drama." Duguay personally went over that waterfall twice to get the shot, then wanted to do it one more time just for fun.

  • Extreme Ops. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Devon Sawa, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Rupert Graves, Rufus Sewell, Heino Ferch, Joe Absolom, Jana Pallaske, Liliana Komorowska, Klaus Lowitsch.
  • Directed by Christian Duguay.
  • Screenplay by Michael Zaidan.
  • Produced by Moshe Diamant, Jan Fantl, at Paramount/MDP/ApolloMedia/Extrem/Carousel.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:12:05 PDT