THE CUTTING EDGE 4: FIRE & ICE
I wasn’t sure it would happen. After a trilogy of “The Cutting Edge” I was sure they had told the story they wanted to tell. But apparently there was enough room for a fourth. And they subtitled it “Fire & Ice”, which I found appropriate since the story is about a pair of figure skaters that are total opposites. Just making them work together was the equivalent of putting fire next to ice and hoping that would be enough to win a championship. But of course in movies it’s never that simple.
If I had to pick a dominant element, it would be fire. Only because it melts ice. But that doesn’t mean the fire continues burning as it once did. The ice also cools the fire, so that it isn’t as hot as it was before it met the ice.
It’s such a great analogy for the two main characters, I can’t blame the filmmakers for choosing that subtitle. If it was the writer’s decision, I think it is a step up from her last effort (The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations) since I’m not sure that subtitle was as cued into the story as this one was. Besides, this is about ice skating which means I also would have also accepted Fire ON Ice or Fire AND Ice, without the ampersand.
Francia Rasia reprises her role as Alex Delgado from the third film, Cutting Edge 3: Chasing The Dream. She plays the “ice” character. She’s cooled off since her last competition, and doesn’t have her heart completely in it like she used to. Now she teaches skating lessons for kids. Enter “fire”: Philip Seaver, played by Stephen Amell. He’s a major hot-head, thinks he has all that it takes to go out there and show the world he can figure skate with the best of them. But because he’s so passionate, he begins to clash with Alex. He forces her to re-evaluate her priorities, and make a hard choice: continue teaching kids how to skate or go out there and win a medal? She ditches the kids.
For a film that was shown on Abc Family, I was surprised and a little disappointed to find Alex falling in love with Philip. I thought after the third movie, she would have learned not to mix business with pleasure – but here she does it again! If they go ahead with the 5th film, The Cutting Edge: Port of Call New Orleans, in my humble opinion it would be unwise to cast her again, or if they do, it’s mandatory to reprise Stephen Amell. For all the good these films teach kids about perseverance and working hard to accomplish your dreams, they also send the message that promiscuity is okay in competitive sports, and that’s wrong. Look at Tiger Woods, he lost all his endorsements (well I think he still has Nike actually, so nevermind).
After watching the Winter Olympics this year, I was surprised by how many figure skaters had coaches who didn’t really speak their language. I don’t get that. It doesn’t make sense. Luckily for Fire & Ice, they have an interpreter for their Japanese-speaking coach. It’s my assumption this guy is great at what he does, which is why they stick it out with him even though he makes them do weird relationship building exercises that on the surface don’t seem to have much to do with actual figure skating. It’s only later we discover that those exercises bring Fire & Ice together in a way so that one doesn’t totally melt and the other doesn’t completely extinguish.
The other observation I made watching the Winter Olympics was that the figure skating looked impressive. I don’t expect Fire & Ice to show me a triple lutz, they are actors and ultimately have better projects to do after the economy picks up again. But even the shots from a football field away don’t impress, and they should. Their stunt doubles didn’t look any better. I guess what I’m saying is, for an ice skating movie this doesn’t display the majesty and grace of the sport that you would likely see during the Olympics. It’s a little misleading, especially since this is coming from the director of The Mighty Ducks. It’s one of those sports films I revered as a kid. I may need to revisit it now. Keep in mind director Stephen Herek started his career with the great Critters, and went on an amazing run with Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead, The Three Musketeers (arguable), Mr. Holland’s Opus, 101 Dalmations (the live action one), Rock Star (underrated Mark Wahlberg)….
My advice for this director is to avoid making a fifth Cutting Edge. That would be my advice for anybody associated with these movies, too. I think it’s time to hang up the blades. They’re getting dull.