ICE FEST Rap-Up!

So ICE FEST 2012 is over! I’m a bit sad that it’s come to a close, but I had a ton of fun watching and reviewing the movies in one big block of Ice. It’s been so long since I’d done a two-week series (about two years since the original SE Event, A Fistful of Djangos), and I had forgotten just how much fun it was to watch the movies as a group. It’s times like these that I get to fulfill my dreams of running and scheduling a theater, and even though the turnout here is always somewhat disappointing to me, I’m truly grateful for everyone that read the reviews and left a comment.

Unfortunately, I still did not receive any links from anyone, so apparently I was the only one that needed some Icy relief from the furious rays of the sun… but don’t fret! I have assembled a couple of reviews that should keep you nice and Icy if my block of nine films wasn’t enough to satiate your urge for coolness.

Nostra over at My Film Views got a chance to see Ice T’s directorial début, Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap right before ICE FEST kicked off! I can’t wait to see this one, and when it drops on DVD there’s a chance that SE will freeze over once again. Anyway, check out his review!

The Daily Grindhouse posted up a trailer and a short write-up on ICE FEST opener: New Jack City!

Don’t forget to check out Movieguide.org’s vintage review of Surviving the Game from 1994! It’s interesting to read a take on the film coming from a completely different perspective than my own.

Perhaps you found my review of Trespass stupid and amateurish! If so, here’s Roger Ebert’s review from 1992!

And at this point I spent an hour or so trying to find some more links that were both relevant and interesting to read and found nothing that really did anything for me. Oh well.

So this ends ICE FEST, be sure to come back next week when we’re back to normal and I unleash my reviews of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. OH YEAH!

Trespass (1992)

Starring Bill Paxton, Ice T, William Sadler, Ice Cube, Art Evans, De’voreaux White, Bruce A. Young, Glenn Plummer, Stoney Jackson, T.E. Russell, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, Hal Landon Jr.

Directed by Walter Hill

Expectations: As the final film of Ice Fest, I’m excited and a little sad it’s all over.


As soon as Trespass started, I couldn’t contain my excitement. The opening scene seemed designed specifically for me in this moment, as the second line in the film is spoken by Ice Cube, quickly followed by a line from Ice T. The scene is a series of close-ups as Ice T and his associates watch a video of one of their friends being murdered, intercut with the credits of the film. The structure of the scene builds excitement as you start piecing together the story that will play out for your enjoyment, but obviously for me there was another, more pressing agenda. Seeing Ice Cube and Ice T together in one film after eight solo films was too much for me to handle. No matter what the dramatic weight of the scene was, I couldn’t help myself. I had the biggest grin on my face and I was hooting with glee. The two Ices had finally joined forces. “Life is good,” I said to myself. And the best part of this story is that the movie that followed this pure, giddy joy was awesome.

After this opening scene we meet our two main characters, a couple of firefighters played by William Sadler and Bill Paxton. While attempting to save “Ted” Theodore Logan’s dad (Hal Landon Jr. for the non-Bill & Ted’s fans) from a burning building, Paxton acquires a package containing a golden Celtic cross and a newspaper clipping about an old Catholic church robbery. There’s also a map inside, so Paxton shows his buddy and they decide that treasure hunting for a million dollars worth of gold sounds a hell of a lot better than slaving away at the firehouse for the rest of their lives. The only caveat is that the building the map leads them to is deep in the bad part of town, and the situation quickly escalates to violence.

Continue reading Trespass (1992) →

Final Voyage (2000)

Starring Dylan Walsh, Ice T, Erika Eleniak, Claudia Christian, Rick Ducommun, Heidi Schanz, John Koyama, Jonathan Fuller, Stephen Macht, Michael Bailey Smith, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Beau Billingslea

Directed by Jim Wynorski

Expectations: High after Stealth Fighter.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Final Voyage is the perfect example of a great movie on paper. A Titanic-sized boat filled to the brim with wealthy socialites and a vault full of their unspecified riches. Ice T leading a crack team of thieves onto the boat to steal said riches. A John McClane-esque character guarding former Playboy Playmate Erika Eleniak of Under Siege fame. And Jim Wynorski, director of the incredibly awesome Chopping Mall and last week’s Stealth Fighter. With these elements at its disposal, Final Voyage should be something to see, and it was these very reasons that swayed me to include it over other Ice T films. Unfortunately, it’s kinda middle of the road, mostly composed of poor action and boring dialogue.

Regardless of all the missed potential here, Final Voyage is still pretty enjoyable as a B-Movie thanks to our lead villains Claudia Christian and Ice T. Christian does a great job with the material, making her scenes pop a little more than the rest, while Ice directs the show for most of the movie from the bridge, but you know what that means… he’s not really involved in the action. What. The. FUUUUCK. This is a supreme disappointment for me, especially coming off of Surviving the Game where it was all Ice T icing dudes all the time. Claudia Christian (of Babylon 5 fame) is Ice’s right hand, so she spends most of the movie doing the thug shit that I’d rather see Ice do. I’d also rather see Ice in the John McClane hero role, taking down confident crooks with his self-assured swagger. Oh well, like Stealth Fighter before it, Ice gets a nice villain monologue that somewhat makes up for my disappointment. But don’t get too excited, it’s not nearly on the same level as the previous one, even if a dope slow jam starts playing right as he starts the monologue. The only logical reason for this to happen would be if one of his thugs was carrying around a boombox for this very occasion, and even though I didn’t see that guy, I’m going to assume that’s what happened.

Continue reading Final Voyage (2000) →

Dangerous Ground (1997)

Starring Ice Cube, Elizabeth Hurley, Ving Rhames, Sechaba Morojele, Eric Miyeni, Greg Latter

Directed by Darrell Roodt

Expectations: Low, it’s supposed to be pretty bad.


While selecting films for Ice Fest, it was tough to come up with titles in the Ice Cube filmography that would fit into the categories I desired. As Ice T has loads of low-budget action films, I wanted the series to represent a couple of “mainstream” films, as well as a couple of low-budget ones. That’s kind of my whole thing with this site, and Ice T’s films present a perfect opportunity to explore this in microcosm. Cube’s films don’t really fit in the same mold, so I was stuck picking All About the Benjamins and Dangerous Ground as the “trashy, low-budget action movies” of the series. Dangerous Ground is trashy and it feels fairly low-budget for a studio movie, but action-packed it’s definitely not.

Ice Cube plays a South African who — OK, stop laughing and let me get through this plot synopsis. Where was I? Ice Cube plays a South African who was sent to live in San Francisco (coincidentally very close to the Cube-favorite Oakland Raiders) when he was a kid to avoid being killed during the apartheid riots. Ice tells us through his opening narration, that he’s an African at heart, but he returned home an American. He comes back to South Africa via a credit montage with a poppy African song laced with ’80s keyboard synths that would be right at home opening up a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. This built up way too many expectations of dope fights and action sequences I would never get, but regardless the song is so great that I made a recording and I present it below for your listening pleasure.

Continue reading Dangerous Ground (1997) →

Surviving the Game (1994)

Starring Ice T, Rutger Hauer, Charles S. Dutton, Gary Busey, F. Murray Abraham, John C. McGinley, William McNamara, Jeff Corey

Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson

Expectations: High. If I don’t love this, the pillars of Earth will shake.


In high school, teachers give you a lot of dumb shit to read. Every once in a while, though, there’d be a gem. One of these gems was Richard Connell’s short story, The Most Dangerous Game. I loved it, not just because of the interesting premise, but also because it reminded me of this amazing movie I saw at my grandparent’s house one summer, The Naked Prey, where a dude runs from hunters in Africa with barely any dialogue holding the film together. So when I sat down with Surviving the Game, I expected it to give me a great early ’90s action take on the tale that I love so well. Surviving the Game does not disappoint in the slightest, delivering thrills, excitement and some of the most badass/ridiculous survival shit you’ll ever see in a movie.

Ice T is a homeless man who is at the end of his rope. Without any way out of his current situation and nothing to live for, he just wants it all over and done with. The kindhearted Charles S. Dutton sees a fire within Ice and offers him a job as a survivalist guide, but as you can probably guess, his intentions are more disingenuous than they appear at first glance. Even though we know the storyline and it takes a little while to get to the action-meat of the film, the setup is worthy and necessary. Without it we’d have no connection to Ice’s character in this film, and thankfully this introductory phase flies by thanks to fast-paced writing that is never giving us shit we don’t need. Like a man packing into the backwoods, Surviving the Game only takes exactly what it needs, and when the shit goes down you best believe it knows how to use every motherfuckin’ thing in that pack.

Continue reading Surviving the Game (1994) →

State of the Ice Address

So the first week of Ice Fest is done and in the can! I’ve had a blast watching and reviewing the movies and I love all the great comments too. Let’s keep rollin’ this snowball iceball down the hill and make next week even better. I need all the help I can get on marketing, so email, tweet, Facebook, carrier pigeon, catapult, however you wanna get the links out there is a big help!

I’ve never looked at this series as any sort of competition to see who was better or anything like that, but if it were I’d say that we’re all tied up at this point. Boyz n the Hood is the definite winner between the first two, and Stealth Fighter clearly trumps All About the Benjamins. Hopefully our actors can stay frosty enough to keep up the great work for next week. In the words of Mr. Freeze, “Let’s kick some ice!”

This would have been the section where I posted links to other people’s reviews of Ice films, but no one sent any in! How dare they! I guess they’re all perfectly cool without any Ice in their lives. Maybe next week! C’mon bloggers, there’s a whole host of options readily available if you have Netflix Instant!

A sampling of what is currently available there:

Ice T
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
Surviving the Game (…but it’s Full Screen! Such bullshit!)
Mean Guns (from the director of one of my favorites, Dollman)
Judgement Day (How did I not include this? It’s like Armageddon but with Ice T, Coolio and Mario Van Peebles! C’mon, someone’s gotta review this!)
Leprechaun in the Hood (Yes!)
Gangland (Post-apocalyptic Ice!)

Ice Cube
Boyz n the Hood
Higher Learning
Ghosts of Mars
Rampart

Oh, and they also have TRESPASS with both Ice T and Ice Cube; can you handle that much Ice at once?

So, that’s it until next week! Keep Icin’, stay Icy, and have an Ice-tastic weekend!

All About the Benjamins (2002)

AKA Good Boys (Japan), All About the Money (Denmark)

Starring Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Tommy Flanagan, Carmen Chaplin, Eva Mendes, Valarie Rae Miller, Anthony Giaimo, Jeff Chase, Roger Guenveur Smith, Gino Salvano, Tony Ward, Dominic Chianese Jr., Anthony Michael Hall

Directed by Kevin Bray

Expectations: Low.


I took a gamble on All About the Benjamins. As a modern film it could go either way, but I surmised that the trashy nature I supposed it had would be enough to override any negatives brought about by my distaste for this era of mainstream filmmaking (not that this is exactly mainstream). When the opening scene brings together the Looney Tunes, hot pants, shotguns, a Grandma with a handgun, and a Taser blast to the balls, I thought we might have a verified winner on our hands. Unfortunately, All About the Benjamins does not live up, but one thing is for sure: this movie, and the characters within are all about the benjamins… to a fault. Our heroes are so focused on getting paid at any cost that they aren’t especially likable, but that’s OK, the script is just being true to its characters (and the film’s title), so really I can’t ask too much more of them.

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who’s on the hunt for Reggie (Mike Epps), a repeat offender and all-around hustla. After an awesome foot chase through the streets of Miami and at least one Thai restaurant (called Try My Thai), Epps ducks into a mysterious gate that resembles the opening “down the barrel” section of the James Bond films. Ice tries to follow him but a couple of killers were on the roof scoring $20 million in diamonds and they don’t want any witnesses. From here the film jumps off on a non-stop ride with Ice and Epps trying their damnedest to get what’s theirs, and a piece of what’s not.

Continue reading All About the Benjamins (2002) →

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