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Movie Review

Extreme Ops is what you’d get if you crossed The Fast and the Furious with a Warren Miller film. A sketchy plot explored in a beautiful mountain setting with helicopter views of snowboarding stunts, ski aerials . . . and an avalanche. Advertising executive Jeffrey makes commercials for a living, excelling in high-adventure footage for wealthy clients. So when he gets the opportunity to tackle an advertising campaign featuring an Olympic downhill gold medalist and two extreme snowboarders outrunning an avalanche, he’s good to go. Accompanied by Ian, his director, and Will, his cameraman, Jeffrey heads for the Austrian Karawanken Range on the border of Yugoslavia, holing up in an unfinished Alpine resort. Unbeknownst to the film crew, a Serbian terrorist named Pavle (who has faked his death in a plane crash and dropped out of sight), his son, Slavko, his girlfriend, Yana, and a gang of criminals are hiding out on the premises. When the thugs discover that Will captured Pavle on film, they become intent on murdering Jeffrey and his crew (believing them to be CIA agents) before they spill the beans. What ensues is a chase scene involving bad guys shooting from a helicopter while the "good" guys jump, 360, climb, rappel, snowboard, ski and skydive their way to safety.

positive elements: When team members are in danger, comrades attempt a rescue, even when their own lives are at risk.

sexual content: When the crew shows up in the Alps only to find their hotel rates have inexplicably increased, one of them concocts a story to get the rates reduced. He alleges that another crew member’s unwanted virginity is due to his need for a penis replacement. Silo shares that he has always "want[ed] sex with a newscaster." Kittie, Chloe, Ian and Silo engage in a drinking contest (guys against girls). When the girls lose at one point, Chloe is asked to pop Kittie’s bubblegum bubble by going lip to lip. This pair is also asked to kiss each other by Slavko. When the guys lose, Ian is asked to roll in the snow and climb a cable nude (the camera watches from behind). As cold as it is on the mountain top, Yana dons a cleavage-revealing outfit. When Kittie is endangered and hanging off a cliff by a rope, her snowsuit bottoms are yanked off (revealing her panties). She’s finally pulled to safety—much to the delight of the leering Silo. One of the crew members describes wanting a blonde girl that’s "well stacked." There are also scenes that wink at Peeping Toms and hint at incest.

violent content: Before Kittie (who sings in a rock band) joins the team, she’s shown stage diving into a crowd that fails to catch her. She lands face first on the floor (no blood). Outside the Austrian resort where they’re originally scheduled to spend the night, Kittie and Silo dazzle onlookers by snowboarding off a roof, crashing onto, and sliding on top of, an outdoor bar counter. Eventually, the pair crash through a window into the hotel lobby—and as a result are thrown out (leading to their "misfortune" of having to spend the night at 12,000 feet). Silo and Ian are chased by rottweilers (but never caught) after capturing Pavle and Yana on film. Jeffrey is held upside-down by one of his crew (he’s never in real danger). When lighting a gas fireplace, an overabundance of propane causes a minor explosion (no one is hurt). After demanding the videotape of his father and Yana, Slavko ratchets up his emotional intensity by poking Chloe with the end of his rifle. He then demands that the group strip for him (only a guy takes off a shirt) and that the girls kiss. Slavko and one of his thugs shoot each other (both die). Pavle slams a crew member with a chair and slaps his girlfriend for making a comment he feels is inappropriate. Jeff bumps his head on a beam. Kittie jumps down on a thug from two stories up, knocking him to the ground and disarming him. Pavle throws the crew guide’s dead body out of a helicopter, then shoots at the film crew. [Spoiler Warning] One of the bad guys falls to his death from the helicopter before the good guys eventually bring the helicopter down by hurling a climbing rope into the machine’s whirling blades.

crude or profane language: Not counting the verbal offenders in the rap soundtrack, movie dialogue features more than 20 s-words, one muffled f-word and several uses of "d--n" (some with "god" attached). Other mild profanity is punctuated with the use of the term "b--ch" for women and flagrant misuses of Jesus’ Name.

drug and alcohol content: While filming a commercial involving a kayak going over a waterfall, Ian and client watch the action while drinking champagne. Once in the Alps, the crew heads to a packed nightclub and down quite a bit of beer. The team’s Austrian guide smokes constantly. Kittie, Chloe, Ian and Silo engage in a beer drinking contest. Most likely all get drunk, although only Chloe is intoxicated onscreen. Contestants are shown guzzling large quantities without coming up for air.

other negative elements: When Kittie joins the film crew, she asks Silo, "You got any drugs?" When he looks at her strangely, she responds that she needs Advil or something. "I’m cramping and bleeding like a stuffed pig," she complains. A man is shown sneezing and wiping the mucous off his hands by rubbing them against the wall.

conclusion: Fans of extreme sports will get their share of adrenaline here. There’s kayaking, climbing, skateboarding, skiing, stunt biking, snowboarding (once behind a train), cliff jumping, skydiving and lots of high-speed risk-taking. Copycat daredevils best steer clear of these professionally pulled-off stunts. Many of them would put novices in the hospital—or the morgue. But most of what’s seen onscreen won’t be easy for reckless wannabes to try—the terrain is too remote and the equipment (helicopters and trains, for instance) too inaccessible or expensive.

Though it wouldn’t have necessarily been a good film, Extreme Ops could have easily been a PG film. Just a bit of editing here and toned-down conversation there. Unfortunately, the filmmakers must have felt sexual dialogue, profanity and excessive drinking were required for a film with the word "extreme" in the title. Looking for a family-safe choice with the "extreme" left intact? Check out Warren Miller’s new Storm—all the adrenaline without the pitfalls.


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