Nothing says 1990s like Vanilla Ice and for a brief moment he was as “Cool as Ice.”
Vanilla Ice was a sad time for music in the 1990s. With the emergence of Gangster Rap and the rising popularity of Hip-Hop, the presence of a rapper like Vanilla Ice was more like a comical parody of the genre. While he took himself seriously, his music became infamous, mainly being played by those looking for a laugh. The only thing that could be more laughable than his music was his attempt at acting in his feature film debut, “Cool as Ice.”
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 0.5
“Cool as Ice” begins with Johnny (Vanilla Ice) rapping (poorly) in what seems to be an underground venue. Despite the attempt to be “hardcore,” Johnny actually makes B-Rad from “Malibu’s Most Wanted” seem like Eminem in comparison. With his flamboyantly vibrant attire and lyrics that are the equivalent of grade school poetry, it seemed impossible to make Ice’s character Johnny the superior hero of the film.
So how does such a ridiculous character emerge as a hero? By having the rest of the film’s characters being portrayed as caricature-like, suburban-esque, WASPY white people. By taking a “Stepford” approach of creating a sort of social conformity amongst other characters, Vanilla Ice emerges as a “misunderstood” rebel. As Johnny he attempts to emulate a James Dean type character with his crotch rocket riding, fast-paced lifestyle. Instead, his poorly scripted dialogue (probably improv) makes a mockery of James Dean and showcases the idiot that is Vanilla Ice.
While I could write a book on the ridiculous nature of Vanilla Ice’s character, the cinematic elements of “Cool as Ice” are on the same level. From a plethora of poor performances to an inconsistent and random plot, this film sets a standard for how NOT to make movie. I would usually preface the details that follow with a “spoiler alert” but “Cool as Ice” is a film that is beyond spoiling, it’s just plain rotten.
As mentioned, the opening of the film is an obvious promo for Vanilla Ice’s music but the film is abruptly scattered with these moments of him randomly rapping, attempting to freestyle, dancing, and even singing in the background of horribly presented montage’s. To add to the randomness, the wholesome family of the love interest (Kathy “Kat”) laughably reveals that they are in the witness protection program which implores Kat to seek Johnny’s (Vanilla Ice) help to protect her family and rescue her brother. Of course the film also sprinkles in some ineffective stereotypical characters for comic relief and opposition which just adds to the film’s smorgasbord of inconsistency.
Finally we have the “love story” element that is even more absurd than anything else. The amount of chauvinism present in this film makes “Mad Men” look like a Lilith Fair. Kathy’s boyfriend (Nick) in the beginning of the film is a controlling alcoholic that strong arms her, calls her a slut, and demands obedience. It’s no wonder that she moves to Johnny (Vanilla Ice), the lesser of two evils who meets her by jumping a fence with his motorcycle to intentionally knock her off a horse. From there he proceeds to stalk her, steal her organizer to keep tabs on her, and even breaks into her bedroom and lies on her bed waiting for her. Not one of these actions establishes a premise for chemistry between Kathy and Johnny, which is probably why there was none.
Overall the film has no cinematic value and fails to reach any sort of achievement within any element of filmmaking. Luckily Vanilla Ice’s popularity died as quickly as our memory of this film did.
Entertainment Value – 1
The only reason that “Cool as Ice” gets a half star boost for “Entertainment Value” is because of its “trainwreck” element. At times it’s difficult to look away because you’re just wondering how something so ridiculous could be made into a film.
The other element that makes this film entertaining is the comedy. I’m not talking about the scripted comedy, I’m speaking to the absurdity of the film itself. When watching “Cool as Ice,” you’re not laughing “with” the film you’re laughing at the film. The same reason that some people may choose the song “Ice Ice Baby” as a karaoke jam, is the same reason someone would watch this film…to make fun of it.
Rewatchability – 0.5
As a kid I had to watch this film many times. It wasn’t my choice to watch it, instead it was my older cousin’s choice who had an impeccable taste for bad music and bad films. After being forced to watch it more than once, I began to understand the meaning of the word “torture” at a very early age.
Reiterating my point above, I have to say that “Cool as Ice” is a film that will steal a little bit of your soul. I sympathize with those that have seen this film and pity those that have chosen to watch it more than once.
- Entertainment Value
"Cool as Ice" is a reflection of a dark time in our society. When someone sold their soul to make Vanilla Ice famous, they took out a second mortgage on their soul to make this film. This is the type of film that makes people that use their cell phones in movie theaters a welcomed group. If I go to Hell, I believe this will be the film that is played on loop.