Review: “Extreme Ops”

Not as bad as you might expect, this rather visually interesting teen-friendly actioneer still suffers from the usual problems of a limited budget & woeful script which trudges through utterly banal exposition and characterisation before finally kicking into action in the last half hour.

The basic plot, a bunch of teen adrenalin junkies and a professional medalist skier who regrets not having more fun must evade a Milosevic-style bad guy whose hiding out in the same resort they’re filming a commercial at. Cue various “Die Hard” internal building tension to “xXx” outrun avalanche style action – albeit for a much lower less flashy budget.

Director Christian Duguay, whose pedigree comes from epic film cinematography, manages to give the snow-swept vistas and admittedly impressive set location a large and more epic look than the material deserves, whilst Rupert Graves and Rufus Sewell are strong actors who add credibility to their underwhelming characters. Sounds good so far, but its the other elements that screw it up. Devon Sawa looks like a heroin junkie, the rest of the young cast leave no impression and Bridgette Wilson shows her bad acting stint in “Mortal Kombat” wasn’t just a one-off.

Yes there’s some fun sequences with some well shot scenes but nothing we haven’t seen before and better in the likes of “Cliffhanger” and “Vertical Limit” – at least Renny Harlin & Martin Campbell have much better senses of pacing and suspense than Duguay.

The script however is the woeful thing here – every cliche is on display, all the characters are stereotypes and whilst its hinted right from the start what is going to happen – its not till an hour after “I live for adventure” speeches and all too clean “Truth or Dare” spa games that we get anything of note happening. When it does, again its like a poor man’s “xXx” with generic East European baddies with guns out to stop “those meddling kids”. Only for clean and easily pleased teens.