Revisiting Icebreaker (2000) with Sean Astin and Bruce Campbell

Plot: At the the Killington ski resort something has gone awry. Evil terrorists led by the sinister Greig have taken the resort hostage with a stolen nuclear device. It’s up to Ski Patrol bum Matt Foster to save the day… and his fiancé.

Before he was Samwise Gamgee, Sean Astin tried his hand as an action hero in Icebreaker where he plays good-natured Matt Foster who works at a ski resort; all he wants is to marry the love of his life Meg (Suzanne Turner) and gain the approval of her father (Stacy Keach) so he can marry her. Bill (Keach) thinks Matt is a loser and not good enough for his little girl but when a group of terrorists conveniently show up and take over the ski resort Matt answers the call to heroism and takes it upon himself to go all John McClane on them.

The best aspect of this film is of course Bruce Campbell who plays the main villain Carl Greig; he is terminally ill and decides it might be fun to go out with a bang, so he brings a powerful explosive device to wreck havoc to the ski slopes. We’re never given any real reason to feel sympathetic with Carl which could have given him a little more depth but instead he’s just a crazy villain that needs to be stopped. I liked seeing Bruce with the shaved head as it’s a look we hadn’t seen from him before and he managed to be suitably menacing.

At around 90 minutes Icebreaker is far from a great movie but I can’t help but enjoy it mostly due to Campbell and also Sean Astin’s sheer on-screen likeability. He doesn’t look like your typical action hero and that’s why he’s so appealing. He feels like a real guy who is doing his best to save his soon-to-be-wife from certain doom.

In terms of action we get some gnarly snowboard scenes, shoot-outs and explosions; there is a fight scene that is poorly lit and not especially exciting and there isn’t much else that stands out compared to other Die Hard clones.

We do get a kind of “comedy relief” character in Beck (Mark ‘Woody’ Keppel) who is a ranger that shows up to save Matt regularly and where he could have been annoying he’s actually not too bad however, there are a few other characters like Clay who are unnecessary additions and could easily have been removed from it.

Overall, Icebreaker is hardly an amazing action movie but it’s fun seeing Bruce Campbell as a villain and Astin makes for an appealing lead. It’s got a few fun set-pieces but you’ll struggle to remember it after a few hours.