- Street Date:
- February 25th, 2014
- Reviewed by:
- Bryan Kluger
- Review Date: 1
- March 28th, 2014
- Movie Release Year:
- 95 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Rated R
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Move over zombies, aliens, nazis, and my favorite group - the nazi zombies from outer space, for the Russians are coming back with a vengeance. And they're still pissed off. When you find a movie where a group of people unearth something that's been trapped under the ground or frozen in ice for many years, you don't expect them to be genetically enhanced super soldiers of Russia from the Cold War. No, you expect them to be from another world or back from the dead.
But with Sturla Gunnarsson's mild action thriller 'Ice Soldiers', he brings the Cold War back to modern times, which is a subject all too familiar these days. You won't recognize anything from Gunnarsson's resume over the last twenty five years, but you can definitely tell by watching this film what movies he enjoyed growing up with. With this small budget and limited resources, 'Ice Soldiers' never gets up off the ground to truly satisfy the inner action junkie in you, although it tries to set things up that way. While there are some solid B-Movie actors in this, and they do a passable job to get to each scene, they never seem to give it all they've got, which is probably due to a less than thrilling script.
And we can add to this list of complaints that Gunnarsson does not use his camera or tell a very suspenseful story where we would ever be on the edge of our seat at any given time. Instead, we just move from one scene to the next, completely forgetting or just not caring what happened in the previous five minutes. And that's unfortunate, because I really wanted to enjoy this film. During the peak of the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis, Russian leaders concocted a genetically enhanced Soviet Super Soldier who have made their way to the Canadian arctic. While there, the soldiers brutally murder a team of explorers and scientists, leaving only one survivor.
After their mission is done, the Soviet team heads into the white abyss of the cold arctic to make their way to New York City and kill everyone in sight. Don't lose any sleep over this, because these super soldiers never made it to New York, but instead froze in the cold. The movie then jumps fifty years later where Malraux (Dominic Purcell), a scientist and one of the sons of the frozen Super Soldiers, has been looking for these Russian monsters all of his life. Malraux gathers a team to locate these missing soldiers and eventually locates them to find out that they are still alive and still blood thirsty for murdering the good people of the United States of America. It's up to Malraux and a man named TC Cardinal (Adam Beach) to fight the newly thawed Super Soldiers before they destroy our great country.
You can expect decent cameos from Michael Ironside, Benz Antoine, and Camille Sullivan, who all turn in fun yet short performances. Gunnarsson takes his cues from films like ‘Universal Soldier’, ‘Dead Snow’, and even John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, but where those films had great creative ideas, plots, and characters, ‘Ice Soldiers’ does not. Instead, the similarities are very vague and only show through on an exterior level. The action scenes in this film are less than stellar as well, whether it be a snow mobile chase, a gun fight, or hand-to-hand combat, I felt that the characters were in no real danger at any point in time that left me in a suspenseful mood. ‘Ice Soldiers’ changes nothing in this genre and is as bland as tap water.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'Ice Soldiers' comes with a very good 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Unlike the movie itself, the video presentation looks great. Most of the film is set in a white backdrop of snow and mountains, and luckily the colors are well-saturated as to not make these whites harsh or glaring. And when other colors come on-screen such as helicopters, explosions, or other soldiers, the darker colors go really well against the white backgrounds, giving a little bit of depth to the image.
The detail is sharp and vivid, especially in the closeups that reveal well-defined facial hairs and scars. The costumes also reveal great textures and stitching. There are a few wider shots that look softer with some light banding here and there, but it's nothing to get upset about. The skin tones are natural and the black levels always look deep. There were no other compression issues to speak of here.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
This release comes with an impressive lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and is probably the best thing about this movie and release. the sound engineers must have said, "Crank it to eleven", as that seems like what they did. Every sound effect, gun blast, explosion, and snow mobile chase is robust, loud, and powerful. And it never stops. There is good directionality here with noises coming full blast from the surrounds at all times.
This audio mix really puts you in the center of the film. If only the story and characters were this energetic and fun. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand and free of any pops, cracks, or hissing. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is wide. The bass always kicks into high gear and will rumble the walls. Even the score sounds solid and tries to add to the suspense, which is rare in this film. This is a great audio presentation.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
There are no HD exclusives.
'Ice Soldiers' doesn't do anything new and isn't really all that thrilling. Sure, the story has a good setup, but it isn't executed very well. The entertainment value just isn't there with this movie. And after you watch it, you won't think about it again or bring it up to your friends. I wish it was better, because it had the potential to be a lot of fun. The video presentation looks solid and the audio mix is top notch, which is probably the best part about this disc. There are no extras. My advice is to skip this all together unless you're a diehard fan of Purcell or Ironside.
- 25GB Blu-ray Disc
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
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