By modern musician-turned-film star standards there’s usually a precedent: Before Eminem there was Vanilla Ice. Before 8 Mile there was Cool As Ice. And before Jedward there was no need to worry about the comeback cash-ins. Cue the re-release of the Iceman’s silver screen debut.
Like a DJ sampling old vinyl classics Cold As Ice remixes Rebel Without a Cause with 90s rap clichés seeing Ice assuming the role of Johnny, a peroxide prone James Dean during the MC Hammer era.
When one of Ice’s homies’ motorbikes breaks down the, the crew – more Biker Mice than Hell’s Angels – have no choice but to chill in town (the middle class ‘hood’) perfecting their dance routines and nodding their heads to hyped up house music.
Its not long before Ice spots Kathy, with whom he’d already had a motorbike related run-in with earlier in the film and the “drop the zero and get with the hero” one liners ensue to the delight of her little brother (see the clip below).
Incidentally, Kathy’s family are in witness protection, so when two crooked cops spot their chance to take advantage and hold Kathy’s brother as ransom, it ends up with Ice playing the hero.
Many of the scenarios are about as serious as Ice’s real name (popular culture trivia: Robert Matthew van Winkle) as he swaggers around hijacking discos to rap on the microphone and force his misplaced values upon an unsuspecting audience. The title Cool As Ice ironically serves as an anything but.
That said, the video direction from Janusz Kaminski is visually aesthetic, capturing the frame of every scene perfectly whether in the neighbourhood or as Ice rides his road hog around the Californian countryside, giving the film a gloss the local tourism board would delight in using in their own campaigns.
Not to mention the film shoehorns in a few music video opportunities (and a Naomi Campbell cameo) between scenes, reminiscent of the breaks from the action in Moonwalker. Quirky editing quips synonymous with this era of film making add to its charm, but by today’s standard will leave you laughing out loud or leave younger viewers scratching their heads. You may want to catch up on early episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel Air to get up to speed with what’s actually happening.
If there’s anything to learn from this film: get a motorbike, talk in early nineties ‘word to mother’ clichés and learn the running man you’ll get the girl.
Blend a little Dirty Dancing with ludicrous parachute trousers and high top fade haircuts and you have Cool As Ice in a nutshell. You’ll remember this as a classic, but for all the wrong reasons!
Cool As Ice is out on 6 September