Carl Grieg (Bruce Campbell) is a terminally ill terrorist who takes over a Vermont ski resort while his henchpeople search the nearby mountains for a lost shipment on plutonium. The only man who can stop Carl is a wiseass but determined ski patroller, Matt Foster (Sean Astin). Not only does Matt have to stop Carl from getting his hands on the plutonium but he also has to save his fiancée (Suzanne Turner) and her father (Stacy Keach), both of whom are being held hostage by Carl. Since his future father-in-law thinks that he’s nothing more than good for nothing ski bum, this is Matt’s chance to prove himself worthy of joining the family.
Icebreaker tries to be Die Hard in a Ski Lodge but it fails because Sean Astin is no one’s idea of an action star. With his laid back and goofy manner, Astin miscast as someone who can leap from from an exploding ski lift and land in the snow with barely a scratch on him. This was the last film that Sean Astin made before Peter Jackson offered him the role of Sam in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Needless to say, Astin was much better cast in that role than as a knock-off of Bruce Willis.
As for the rest of the cast, Bruce Campbell hams it up as Carl and, while it is always good to see Bruce, he also appears to be having so much fun that it makes him a less than convincing terrorist. With his shaved head, it’s easy to mistake Bruce for Billy Zane. Stacy Keach does a good job playing someone who is never not annoyed. Considering that his daughter wants to marry a ski bum and they’re being held hostage by a villain who wants to make his very own nuclear bomb, can you blame him?
There’s some skiing action but none of it is really memorable. There is also a scene featuring repeated shots of a counter on a bomb, announcing that Astin only had 30 seconds to do what he needs to do before everything explodes. I think the timer may have been broken because it took a lot long than 30 seconds for that countdown to reach zero. If you really want to see Die Hard In A Ski Resort, I suggest sticking with Cliffhanger. That one not only only has Sylvester Stallone and Michael Rooker cracking jokes but also John Lithgow speaking with a posh accent.
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