There is little doubt that Action was one of the best shows to be cancelled in the game-show fueled mass extermination of series that occurred in 1999, but if it did possess a flaw, it was a tendency towards overly broad humor. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the episode "Lights, Camera, Action," in which we get to see the production of the film Beverly Hills Gun Club. The one scene they spend the episode shooting is a weak parody of a typical Joel Silver film, but is so grossly over-the-top that it is hard to reconcile with the enthusiasm displayed for the script. While watching this episode, I said, "No one would possibly spend millions to make a film this unspeakably bad."
And then I saw Chill Factor.
The pitch for the film pretty much sums it up (48 Hours meets Speed). Johnny Depp (played by Skeet Ulrich) kidnaps Don "No Soul" Simmons (played by Cuba Gooding Jr) so they can be chased around by your usual Alan Rickman clone. Usually these sort of rip-offs have some vaguely interesting twist to them (Die Hard on a boat, Rio Bravo in New York, Hamlet in Africa with lions), but this one relies on the rather flimsy concept of Speed on an ice cream delivery truck. Flimsy.
Sadly, the filmmakers seemed convinced that this "high" concept would be enough to sustain the entire film. Who needs a script?
Fortunately, this film provides what should be the final, much-needed example of black/white buddy film homoeroticism for thousands of self-impressed film majors. This film should allow these poor students of the world to stretch what would otherwise be a mere term paper into a senior thesis, or, if they are lucky, a book.
Rating: D+ (Lower End of Mediocrity)Reviewed by Padgett Arango