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  Fire, Ice & Dynamite Taking The Piste
Year: 1990
Director: Willy Bogner
Stars: Roger Moore, Shari Belafonte, Simon Shepherd, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Geoffrey Moore, Connie De Groot, Celia Gore-Booth, Siegfried Rauch, Ursula Karven, Tiziana Stella, Isabelle Lacamp, John Eaves, Robby Naish, Stefan Glowacz, Bob Goody, Marjoe Gortner
Genre: Comedy, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sir George Windsor (Roger Moore) has a plan up his sleeve he wishes to set into motion today, and after putting the finishing touches to a video he has recorded, he greets his staff, including right hand woman Serena (Shari Belafonte), and reassures them that he's just off on holiday and there's nothing to worry about. Next thing he is boarding his private jet and discussing with the money men at his multimillion dollar company that he really wants his generous funding of environmental issues to continue in the face of their grave reservations, and to prove he means it Sir George proceeds to open the door at high altitude and jump out...

Whereupon Sir Roger Moore is replaced by a stuntman falling through the air at some speed, with little inserts of closeups to pretend that it's really him hurtling down without a parachute, a trick that not only did director Willy Bogner return to with frequent regularity, but also convinced absolutely nobody watching the former James Bond was risking life and limb for a movie that would not exactly rank among his most celebrated. Indeed, most have not even heard of it or the effort it was a sequel to, which should give you some idea of how well known it is, though if you're seeking a film tailor made for ironic adoration you could do a lot worse: those stunts were truly excellent, which was both a boon and a drawback.

It was all very well including as many spectacular action sequences as your budget would allow, but when they were not serving the story since the story was serving them, it would appear Bogner had gotten his priorities somewhat mixed up. As a director, he was most drawn to snow and ice, being one of the James Bond franchise's go to guys for excellent skiing setpieces in such entries as For Your Eyes Only and A View to a Kill and as an ex-competition skier himself he assuredly knew his way around the sport, but as a storyteller, he was on the level of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. This was a comedy apparently patterned after the sixties hit The Great Race, or rather the cartoons that were inspired by it.

Therefore a Dastardly and Muttley-esque, brother and sister duo (Uwe Ochsenknecht and Celia Gore-Booth) were forever trying to put a spanner in the works of the contest Sir George has organised, named Megathon, to see who gets his inheritance after he leapt to his death - ah, but it's Roger Moore, you couldn't kill him off, so he was intercepted mid-drop by two blokes with a parachute and is now disguised as an elderly Scottish butler, naturally. Anyway, his ungrateful offspring who he hasn't seen in years (camp Simon Shepherd, singing Connie De Groot and Moore's actual son Geoffrey Moore proving talent doesn't necessarily run in the family) are called to the reading of the will and are horrified to hear they are required to compete in a sporting occasion to get their hands on the money, and perhaps even more horrified to learn Marjoe Gortner is the emcee/commentator.

There follows stunt after stunt involving skis, paragliding, skates, cars with chains on the tires and so on to keep up the general cold weather motif, though there are occasional bathing beauties seen who must be freezing if we're to believe our eyes. Granted, a lot more attention has been paid to the action than the rest of the movie, with ludicrous jokes that are amusing merely thanks to being so egregiously lame and the real reason Bogner was able to stage all this: he wasn't using his own budget, he had secured the services of umpteen companies in return for a generous amount of screen time for their logos and products. Which explains why, at the opening ceremony, the teams had to walk on with such celebrity endorsers as Buzz Aldrin, Nikki Lauda, Isaac Hayes, Keke Rosberg and Jennifer Rush (who also warbles the theme song), logos in abundance, which then inexplicably descends into a huge brawl. It's that sort of thing which leads movies not to be taken too seriously, even comedies as ludicrous as this one which ends in that sure laugh-getter, attempted murder. Music by Harold Faltermeyer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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