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Jeffrey (Rupert Graves) is an American advertising honcho ever-willing to stretch the limits to impress clients by filming dangerous but attention-grabbing stunts for TV watchers. It isnít Jeffrey who risks his neck for the camera, but his director (Sewell) and cameraman (Sawa) who cannot resist the challenge when, in order to hard-sell a brand new digital camera, they venture to the Austrian Alps to capture skiers out-running an avalanche. The team, who include a world champion downhill skier, a wild-child snowboarder and a teenage thrillseeker, find more peril than they imagined when they accidentally film a Serbian war criminal who faked his death in a plane-crash, hiding out at the same disused resort the ad-team are using as their base camp.

Review by Louise Keller:
Spectacular action on the ski-slopes is the backdrop for this adventure thriller about a group of extreme sports fanatics who get caught up in dangerous political intrigue. The script cleverly makes use of this likeable group of thrill-seekers who have more nerve than common sense, by throwing in different elements to make the story entertaining. Sure, itís a popcorn movie, and the plot is pretty far fetched, but the locations are breathtaking and the stunts impressive.

Shot in Vancouver, Berlin, the Rocky Mountains of Canada and in the Austrian and Swiss alps, the dazzling snowy peaks and slopes look as beautiful as any travel documentary, and the skiing action Ė while mostly done by highly skilled stunt doubles Ė is stunning. Extreme Ops is about living on the edge, and having a good time. There are avalanches, snowboarding behind speeding trains, hanging upside down from a kayak above a waterfall and some pretty snazzy skiing action. It is probably true to say that we have become a little blasť about such spectacles following films like Vertical Limit. Besides didnít we see Vin Diesel in xXx racing an avalanche? And 007 showed himself to be pretty nifty on the slopes as well. But to its credit, Extreme Ops is roller-coaster non-stop action and the characters Ė although limited as to depth - are nicely written.

Classy casting brings Rufus Sewell as the progressive creative director, while Rupert Graves is a nice contrast as his conservative business partner, who elicits some of the laughs. Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is vulnerable as the champion downhill racer eager to learn how to have fun, and Jana Pallaske and Joe Absolom are a mischievous pair who add sparkle to many of the scenes. They have a certain energy that is highly contagious; even if their ideas are crazy, they execute them with plenty of zest and enthusiasm. Thereís a fun scene when Will, Silo, Kitty and Chloe wind down in a hot tub: little do they know the consequences of the playful fun and games.

The film ends as it begins Ė with kids having fun. And if thatís what the filmmaker intended us to do, he has succeeded. This is an above average adventure film, and while we are always secure in that everything will turn out alright, there are enough thrills and spills to make the journey worthwhile.

Published December 26, 2003

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CAST: Devon Sawa, Bridgette Wilson, Rupert Graves, Rufus Sewell, Heino Ferch, Joe Absolom

DIRECTOR: Christian Duguay

SCRIPT: Michael Zaidan (story by Timothy Scott Bogart, Mark Mullin)

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes


DVD RELEASE: (Rental) December 18, 2003

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