And the booby prize for the stupidest movie plot of 1999 goes to -- drum roll, please -- "Chill Factor," a brain-dead action flick if there ever was one. It's about a short order cook and a dairy desert delivery driver on the run from deranged ex-military terrorists who want a volatile, explosive, top secret chemical weapon hidden in the back of their ice cream truck.
Don't ask how these two (played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Skeet Ulrich) came to be in possession of such a device. It's too ridiculous to waste time going in to here. All you need to know is that the crystalline compound has to stay below 50 degrees or it'll blow.
This is a joke, right?
A written-in-Crayon amalgam of "Speed," "Outbreak," and any dime-a-dozen movie in which teeth-gritting kooks hold America hostage with a weapon of mass destruction ("Broken Arrow," "Under Siege," "Con Air," take your pick), this flick is a epidemic of innumerable, insultingly obvious plot holes so prevalent that there's no point to writing about anything else in reviewing the movie.
A modest sampling from my notes:
You get the idea.
For every three minutes of screen time, there are probably two of these moronic mistakes. Then there's the dialogue ("My God! I have become Death, destroyer of worlds!" expounds the scientist who invents the chemical in the first reel. No kidding). And the parade of colossal cliches (doofus local sheriff, military psycho with menacing whisper), and the very, very bad acting from two slipping young stars who used to have better taste in scripts and at least a modicum of talent.
Ulrich ("Touch," "The Newton Boys") now seems to dream of being little more than a poor man's Johnny Depp and Gooding ("Jerry Maguire," "As Good As It Gets") has rushed headlong into a mannerism-extreme, self-perpetuating stereotype of the non-threatening token black -- almost the modern equivalent of a Stepin Fetchit.
Understand please, that I like a good check-your-brain-at-the-door action flick as much as the next guy -- the operative word being "good." What qualifies? "Desperado," "Speed," most Jackie Chan movies. But something as criminally pathetic as "Chill Factor" doesn't even come close.
Run time: 102 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 1st September 1999
Box Office Worldwide: $11.3M
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: Morgan Creek Productions
Contactmusic.com: 0.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 11%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 68
IMDB: 5.2 / 10
Director: Hugh Johnson
Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr. as Arlo, Skeet Ulrich as Tim Mason, Peter Firth as Col. Andrew Brynner, David Paymer as Dr. Richard Long, Daniel Hugh Kelly as Col. Leo Vitelli, Judson Mills as Dennis, Jordan Mott as Carl, Hudson Leick as Vaughn, Kevin J. O'Connor as Telstar