If ever there was a film deserving of the infamy of being included in a bad movie night, it is Cool as Ice. This portrait of the early nineties was Vanilla Ice’s first and only starring role, and it’s about as good as you would expect. The nonsensical tagline to the film, “How do you melt a heart of stone? Just add Ice” pretty much says it all. Of course, it arrived 2 minutes after Vanilla’s 15 minutes were over, so it has languished on video for years, and is now developing into something of a cult hit for those who can appreciate how funny awesomely bad movies can be.
One interesting note of trivia: This is the first film for cinematographer Janus Kaminski, whose later credits include no less than Schindler’s List. Wow. I guess we really do all have to start somewhere. On the other hand, this film effectively killed the career of director David Kellog, who waited 10 years for the laughter to die down before directing the probably equally terrible Inspector Gadget. Whoops.
Vanilla plays Johnny, leader of a super tough posse of biker rappers, who apparently go from town to town performing in warehouses where the lights hang at about knee level. This particular gang is so tough, that they don’t even need helmets. Though, come to think of it, massive head trauma might actually explain a lot.
On the way to their next gig, or wherever it is they’re actually going, the gang encounters the horseback riding heart of stone that Vanilla desires to melt with his, um, Ice. Of course it belongs to an uptight overachiever named Kathy, who clearly needs a little Vanilla in her life to spice things up. (I made that one up myself). Ice starts by nearly killing her with her own horse, which is about the most extreme pickup technique I’ve ever seen, and strangely enough, seems to work. Sure, she acts all annoyed and storms off, but as Vanilla notes:”Yup. Yup. She likes me”. It’s probably because she’s sick of her possessive, walking cliché of a boyfriend Rick.
One of the gang has some mechanical failure on the way into town, so the posse ends up stuck at a hippy-trippy bike repair shop, run by some crazy old couple. Thankfully, they run the shop out of their house, which is oh so conveniently down the street from the perpetually smoky residence of Kathy and her parents.
Oh, and did I mention that her parents are in the witness protection program, and on the run from two thugs who apparently have nothing better to do than sit around and wait for Kathy’s dad to appear on TV so they can track him down and extort money from him? It seems papa Kathy – played by Michael Gross in what was undoubtedly not a highlight of his career — was a cop who saw too much and ratted out some of his colleagues, who vowed revenge. It’s really no wonder this guy left the force; he is without a doubt the worst cop in the history of law enforcement. His every instinct is completely wrong. He doesn’t get anything right, or figure anything out throughout the entire film. I guess that’s what he gets for trying to suppress his daughter’s desire to Iceify her stony heart.
But at least Vanilla is cool right? His wardrobe alone is truly something to behold, (I wonder where he keeps all those clothes on his bike?) along with his strangely erect hair, and I think any film that includes a dead-serious Vanilla Ice spewing such lines as “Yo Kat. Some words of wisdom: Drop that zero and get with the hero” at least deserves a look. And I haven’t even mentioned the scene where Vanilla single-handedly kicks the crap out of no less than five armed jocks who make the foolish mistake of messing with his homeboy’s bike. He is equally delicate in his melting of Kathy’s heart, which basically consists of him walking around with no shirt on, talking about how “if you’re living life for someone else, you ain’t living”, and generally acting creepy and/or criminal. This is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more priceless moments of unintentional hilarity to discover.
So why is this movie the pinnacle of bad-movie night cinema? It is because it is so clear that Vanilla and those involved in creating this film took it very, very seriously. This only accentuates further the laughable dialog, the ridiculous plot and the clichéd characters. Somehow the thought that someone actually thought this pile was going to be good makes it all the more unintentionally hilarious.
Finding this film on VHS on eBay is about the only way you’re going to be able to purchase it, though you can often still find it for rent at your local independent video store. Watch it with a group of friends while consuming your alcoholic beverage of choice.