• Cool As Ice (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: May 4th, 2021.
    Director: David Kellogg
    Cast: Vanilla Ice, Kristin Minter, Michael Gross, Candy Clark, Deezer D
    Year: 1991
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    Cool As Ice – Movie Review:

    David Kellogg's 1991 film, Cool As Ice, opens at a club where Naomi Campbell sings and a bunch of people dance as the opening credits roll. This gives us a pretty good idea of what we're in for, as there's a lot of dancing in this movie.

    Anyway, Vanilla Ice plays Johnny. He's a rebellious type who runs with a crew of bikers. Not the classic, tough kind of bikers, but the early nineties rapper kind of bikers - that's an important distinction to make. They decide to do a road trip but not too long into it Johnny can't help but notice a pretty girl riding a horse. He decides to jump over the fence on his bike so that he can make her acquaintance, which, shockingly, upsets the horse to the point where the young woman is knocked off of it. She's understandably pissed at him but he doesn't seem to get it.

    We learn that this lady is named Kathy (Kristin Minter) but then one of Johnny's friends, Jazz (Deezer D), has a bike failure. This eventually causes a bit of a traffic jam. They find a garage eventually, and it's located conveniently close to Kathy's place. This shop was clearly decorated by a lunatic, presumably its owner, Roscoe (Sydney Lassick). Johnny spies her and moves in on her, much to the dismay of a guy named Nick (John Newton). One thing leads to another and it comes out that Kathy and her family are in the witness protection program. When her family winds up on the news, which is not a good thing to happen to people in the witness protection program, some of the bad dudes that her dad (Michael Gross from Family Ties!!) was once affiliated with figure out where they're at. Meanwhile, Johnny and his crew show off their fly moves at a dance club. He and Kathy dance, and Nick gets pissed! He and his pals mess up a bike belonging to Sir D (Kevin Hicks), another member of Johnny's crew, and a fight breaks out. Later, Johnny puts a piece of ice down Kathy's throat, and that's weird. She falls in love with him and the go to a construction site for some reason. Her dad, however, thinks for reasons never clearly explained, that Johnny has ties to the bad guys, the same bad guys who aren't even close to being finished with their bad guy stuff yet...

    “When a girl has a heart of stone, there's only one way to melt it. Just add Ice.”

    This is a very silly movie, advertised with a very silly tagline that doesn’t even make any sense. You can’t melt stone with ice. At one point Johnny tells Kathy, regarding Nick, to “Drop that zero and get with the hero.” As a showcase for Vanilla Ice’s acting abilities, the movie… something. It’s definitely something. Full of inane dialogue that makes you wonder how on Earth the script from David Stenn could have ever been given a green light and highlighted by some of the most obnoxious early nineties fashions, hairstyles (Ice has some weird stuff shaved into his head) and set design you could ever hope to see, the movie is fairly nuts. It’s partially a romance, partially a really long music video and it also borrows liberally from movies like Rebel Without A Cause and The Wild One without having any of the quality that those two movies had working in their favor. Cool As Ice, however, does have cinematography from Oscar winner Janusz Kaminski (the man who shot Schindler’s List!), and that counts for something.

    Lots of things happen in the movie for no real reason other than to just let Ice act ‘cool.’ These scenes are frequently very funny. The movie does definitely drag in spots though. The scenes involving Kathy and her father tend to go on far too long and while Michael Gross is a naturally likeable guy but he’s just kind of a boring stick in the mud here. A subplot involving her brother, Tommy (Victor DiMattia), idolizing Johnny is amusing as it results in the kid shaving weird stuff into his head as well, but the whole family dynamic doesn’t work very well.

    But still, you’ve got to love a movie where the lead character says, with a completely straight face “I'm gonna go across the street and, uh, schling a schlong.”

    Cool As Ice – Blu-ray Review:

    Cool As Ice comes to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber framed at 1.85.1 in AVC encoded 1080p high definition taking up 20.7GBS of space on the 25GB disc. This looks to have been sourced from an older, existing master rather than a new scan, as detail isn’t quite at the level you’d hope for. Still, it looks decent, if never mind blowing. Grain doesn’t always resolve perfectly and it can look a little clump in spots and there are moments where there’s some noticeable trailing but colors are generally well defined and black levels are pretty strong. The image is clean, there’s very little print damage here and while this certainly could have looked better, so too could it have looked a whole lot worse.

    Audio options are provided in 16-bit English DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo with optional subtitles offered up in English only. The audio quality on the disc is quite good. The music sounds pretty strong here and the mix is clean and balanced with the dialogue always easy to understand and follow.

    The main extra on the disc is a new audio commentary by film Historians Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Joshua Nelson that, as you’d imagine, covers a lot of ground regarding the film’s history. We get plenty of background on Vanilla Ice as well as insight into how his career took off to the point where it made sense to cast him in a film. There are details here about David Kellogg’s career as a director and filmmaker, lots of info on the supporting cast and crew and more. It’s quite detailed and nicely researched.

    Aside from that, the disc includes a theatrical trailer for the feature, bonus trailers for a few other Kino Lorber releases (CB4, The Allnighter, Hard To Hold), menus and chapter selection.

    Cool As Ice – The Final Word:

    Cool As Ice is every bit as goofy as it sounds and while it is oh-so-definitely a product of its era, there’s definitely some nostalgic entertainment value to be had from it, particularly if you grew up as part of the MTV generation. Kino’s Blu-ray looks okay, sounds quite good and offers up a solid commentary as its main extra feature.

    Click on the images below for full sized Cool As Ice Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Fuckin hell, did pop culture in the early 90's ever suck. Great review.
    1. Newt Cox's Avatar
      Newt Cox -
      I will stick with my DVD-R copy I recorded off Epix Drive IN years ago.
    1. Gary Banks's Avatar
      Gary Banks -
      You'd have to pay me to watch this. And it would have to be several thousand dollars.
    1. Matt H.'s Avatar
      Matt H. -
      This may be Van Winkle's masterpiece.
    1. Scott's Avatar
      Scott -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gary Banks View Post
      You'd have to pay me to watch this. And it would have to be several thousand dollars.
      It's been over 20 years since I last watched it but at the time me and my friends thought it was a riot. It's far from the worse movie I've ever seen. Very far. It's fully aware of how absurd it is.
    1. jimpickens's Avatar
      jimpickens -
      Good MSTK3000 material that's for sure
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      The review is dead on. It drags in spots but it can be wildly entertaining in a WTF kinda way at times. There are some scenes that are "must see". Ice crawling into a girl's window was something... I remember the Rifftrax being a nice compliment to the viewing experience. Probably works best with a friend.