Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Extreme Limits (2001)
Dir. Jim Wynorski
Genre: Xtreme Action!

"...I don't have to believe in it to kill for it."
Remember that time in 1999 when the reality of living in the year 2000 seemed like science fiction fantasy talk? A time in which we all believed that if somehow, the human population managed to make it through the next ten years, either we'd all live on the moon or the Earth would explode in a meteoric catastrophe?  Or, at the very least, all computer life would cease to exist because obviously the internet cannot reset its internal clock for a decade that only time-traveling robots have seen?  Then came the night that that lit up ball dropped in Times Square at 12:00 AM on New Years Day and we realized, "Wait as second...hey, I'm still alive!"  Well, unless you were a person that died on that day, but for everyone else, it's totally the futuristic 2000's! We're going to move to Mars!  Meet Big Foot!  Invent a time machine and kill the dinosaurs! Find Jimmy Hoffa!  Solve the Jesus mystery!  Sure, as of 2013 none of that has happened (YET), but back in our optimistic years when 2001 rolled around, we may not have had flying cars or machines that can materialize "Earl Grey, hot" on demand either, but there were still a butt-load of monumental important achievements in science and technology arising!  For examples:

Xtreme breath leads to 
Xtreme sex, bro!
1. I graduated from high school (go whatever that team mascot was)!  Plus, I had to sit with a straight face through a graduation ceremony that featured a Vitamin C song that brought tears to at 200 young people's eyes.  Gross.
2. A pre-Scientologied Will Smith declared the decade the 'Willenium' and cemented this fact with the help of The Clash, Eva Mendes and the fact he still appeared normal at the time.
3. Inflatable plastic furniture and silver lipstick become all the rage!  Ugh, shouts David Bowie!
4. Boy bands are back with a boner-inducing VENGEANCE.  Thanks, Florida!   
5. Finally, everything everywhere began kicking it into higher gear and going to the...XTREME!

Deodorant (Right Guard XTREME), soft drinks (Do the Dew, BRO!) and extreme sports (skateboarding, small bicycling and *ROLLAH BLAHDES)!  But of course, of all these strange new inventions and ways of living, the most extremely extreme pioneer of all things to the limit on the edge of the breaking point was, obviously, none other than soft spoken non-leading man actor, TREAT WILLIAMS!  That's right, Treat "Fairy-Tale-Theatre-Dead-Heat-Straight-To-Video-Softcore-Erotic-Thriller" Williams (as he's known in most social circles)!

I've got a sweet Treat for you class!
In 2001, a beat-down Treat set out to do his dew and give helicopter-flying/train-crashing/mountain-climbing action flicks the 'Treat'ment' with 2001's Xtreme Action Adventure flick, EXTREME LIMITS (aka Crash Point Zero).  Check out the pulse pounding, fire-shooting, car-crunching, doomsday-devicing, government-conspiracy-building trailer below!


In case the plot isn't GLARINGLY obvious in it's entirety in the trailer, EXTREME LIMITS tells the harrowing, white-knuckle, bare-chested story of the not so world-renowned Dr. Maurice Hunter (John "Passions" Beck) and his daughter, plain-faced Nadia (Julie "What did you say?" St. Claire) who dabble in antiques (and possibly wilderness living/mountain climbing, this is never confirmed). After a nefarious organization of fleece-wearing terrorists finds out that Dr. Maurice is an expert in all things written from books of historical bullshit, he and Nadia are kidnapped by some gun-toting thugs who force the pair into aiding and abetting the bad guys to find a long-lost doomsday weapon thought to be made of only myth and legend. On a side note, now do you see what they did there with the main-ish character's last name? Maurice Hunter? You may have found it banal at the time, but now IT ALL COMES TOGETHER. Reminds me of how every time Stephen, Go-Gurt and I (I call George Lucas Go-Gurt, it's no big deal, just a funny pet name between college roommates, you wouldn't get it) have brunch together every third Sunday of the month and I'm always reminding them that my only real complaint about that Indiana Jones franchise was that main character's name. So plain! What exactly does this guy do? What is he, a porn star? Your neighbor? How about Indiana AncientArtifactFinder? Now there's a real action hero with a doctorate in archeology! I mean, come on, have some goddamn imagnation you lazy fucks! But, I digress.

"Stand back!  It's electrical!"
Thankfully for the micro-fleeced, small pony-tailed terrorists in EXTREME LIMITS and the gas money they had to have spent on the trip, according to EXTREME LIMITS lore, famed electrical engineer, Nicola Tesla, did IN FACT, build a "death ray" which he did INDEED not-so-smartly hide in the Siberian Mountains! What are the odds? Also, what is a 'death ray'? Well, this deadly futuristic weapon, also known as 'Tesla's Death Ray,' (though it was referred to as 'Tesla's Folly' until he proved it could actually work...just a little antique dealer/archeologist humor there for you) has the power to vaporize any and all fleece wearing thugs in your general vicinity, while thankfully leaving the user and all animals/scenery therein unharmed.  Its the power of ELECTRICITY!  Or at least that's what I gathered from the special effects.  Dr. Hunter quickly figures out how to activate the ray and proceeds to massacre his captives, allowing he and his daughter to escape to the safety of the endless snowy mountains they are stranded on!  Oh wait, I think a couple of guys with guns survive and give chase...eventually.

Finally, fashion you AND
your much older Aunt can enjoy!
Either way, somehow Dr. Hunter and Nadia make their way back to a Siberian airport where they plan on heading "safely" home with the 'death ray' in tow.  I guess the airport security is pretty lax in Siberia.  Meanwhile, their new barely introduced ally, a government agent named (meh, I forgot, but he looks a lot like a poor man's Alan Rickman so we'll call him Alan) Alan proceeds to introduce the back stories of their fellow plane passengers to them while they wait at the boarding gate.  It's pretty much your average group of misfits: the young, ill-tempered pill-popping high fashion model (who looks 42 and apparently, based on her wardrobe, models for the catalogs of your local Fashion Bug), her sexist and not-so-secretly in love with her spiky-haired male manager, the fiesty silver foxed widow (with her eye on Dr. Hunter, but her heart firmly in the grip of her dead husband's cold dead hand), the mysterious guy who blends in and goes mostly unnoticed...until, a diabetic who forgot his medication and a young woman who according to Alan:

Alan: "...She got to see our Russian mafia quite accidentally.  We machine gunned her mother to death." 

Oh.  Okay.  That Russian mob.  Always making HORRIBLE first impressions!  Well, enough with this motley crue, let's get on with our safe, non-threatened trip home!  The plane doesn't gets more than an twenty minutes or so in the air before a group of thugs takes control, the pilot is found out by the viewer to be in cahoots with the baddies and a bypassing plane pulls this sweet maneuver where it hooks a rig to the passenger plane in order to transport....wait a minute....this sounds super familiar...haven't we seen this very realistic terrorist scenario before?  Was it in Bosnia?  Russia?  The Olympics?  Oh wait...I remember!


That shit TOTALLY happened in CLIFFHANGER!  In fact, this scene in EXTREME LIMITS not only reminds me of CLIFFHANGER, but it looks EXACTLY like the actual scene that is actually in CLIFFHANGER!  Wait a second...isn't that Stallone's body double!  Why are they transferring suit cases full of money that they didn't have on the plane before?  Why does it smell like John Lithgow in here?  Before your heads explode Enemaniacs, I did the cinematic scientific digging for you and turns out, by the magic of movie-making, several of the action scenes in EXTREME LIMITS are not only stock footage from other explosions and landscapes, but ALL of the major action sequences are clips ripped straight out of other, more well known action films.  No, I'm serious.  If you take moral issue with this Hollywood film-making technique, stop your DVD here.  You have been warned.  For those ready to rock, let us continue on our journey of enematic discovery!

"Good thing I was wearing my microfleece."
So just like in CLIFFHANGER, some old guy (in this case, Dr. Hunter) foils the plans of the terrorists by knocking them over with shear brute old man force and the plane inevitably crashes on top of a snow-capped mountain.  Luckily, all of the key characters were in the front, undamaged part of the plane and survived.  Who cares about the back part of coach that fell off and burned to pieces with all those extras screaming their way to an early, fire-engulfed grave?  None of them model for FASHION BUG.  The survivors at first, huddle, discuss global terrorism and then decide what move to make next.  Let's look at the choices.  Should they:

A. Attempt to climb down the mountain as a group?
B. Drink the remainder of the pilot's booze and "get to know" each other?
C. Talk about their dead spouses?
D. Talk about their dead mothers?
E. Attempt to fight a stalking grizzly bear with a stick and a syringe filled with liquid Tylenol?
F. Separate, have Nadia run off alone with 'Tesla's Death Ray' and a gun-toting thug on her trail, have the able-bodied passengers head down the mountain with the unknown terrorist spy pilot while leaving the remaining old people/diabetes sufferers behind at the stranded plane stalked by the killer bear? 

If you chose any of the above answers, you were right!  They do all of those stupid ass things!  Eventually the able-bodied group dies in an avalanche (another scene straight from CLIFFHANGER), Dr. Hunter and his lovely widow turn each other on with sexy stories about their dead spouses, the scared old guy at the plane is killed by a bear, Nadia makes it to a cabin with the 'death ray' and opens some whiskey and the diabetic man is pretty much slipping into a coma.  Then, wait, who's that guy, oh yeah, the "star" of the movie, Treat Williams shows up!

"Sorry guys, I had to finish shooting
the last episode of Everwood."
Just as Nadia and her doomsday device settle into their new mountain cabin oasis, government agents break down the door!  Or, at least, one seemingly nice alleged CIA officer barges in and demands the 'death ray.'  Nadia is oddly quick to comply, then suddenly more CIA officers, Agent Jason Ross (TREAT!) and Agent Douglas (the adorable "Jump to Conclusions" guy from Office Space) enter the cabin!  Who is an agent and who is a terrorist?  Who is to be believed and who is just another character actor?  Also, where the fuck has main star, Treat Williams, been this whole time?  Technically, he was slightly introduced in prior scenes as he and other agents tracked the plane in some government secretive plane tracking station, but still, I am not satisfied with this soft blow intro of our main action star!  Where is his dirty, unkempt bachelor pad?  His pet iguana?  His one night stand he throws pants at and tells to get the hell out?  His introductory pours beer in his cereal scene?  How are we supposed to know this guy means business if we don't know how recklessly he lives his personal life or how many meaningless sexual encounters he participates in?  WHO ARE YOU, AGENT ROSS AND HOW WILL YOU SAVE MY WORLD?  

Neither the viewer or Nadia have too long to decide because before Agent Douglas can finish one of his patented gentle ribbings of Agent Ross, a helicopter starts to hella shoot up the cabin!  Oh no, it's ANOTHER rogue government agent (Jesus, what is the screening process for these people?)  Agent Ross acts quickly enough to save Nadia, but not the poor initial agent or his partner of who knows how long, sweet, puffy, old Agent Douglas.  He's only allowed one more JFK conspiracy joke and then he dies of bullet wounds.  Sad.  Now, on to more borrowed action!

A helicopter and car chase from NARROW MARGIN!  A train crash and bridge explosion sequence from A LONG KISS GOODNIGHT!  In fact, the only quasi original material in any following scenes involve classic quips, of course!  Here are some choice picks!:

Agent Ross!:

Agent Ross: "...Who's paying their rights for the end of the world?"

Valid question!

A thug!:

Thug: "...Did you know the Chinese invented pasta?  We thought they'd like to add this bit of chow mein to their arsenal."

Wow.  I did not know that and okay!

When Nadia and Ross fall into the hands of the bad guys, they briefly think they will be saved by some government agents that show up and then, duh, they are bad guys too:

Terrorist Ring-leader: "...Are you Indian?"
Agent Ross: "...What does that matter?"
Terrorist Ring-leader: "...It matters if you're an Indian because they're with me, Chief."

Ha!  I see what you did there!  Sort of.

When Nadia asks what happened to the Tesla Death Ray after the bridge explosion:

Agent Ross: "...It's history."


Now that I'm thinking xtremely hard about it, I don't believe there is a better way to extremely recommend this extremely recycled action movie other than to mention the very important, top 10 moments where EXTREME LIMITS takes movie-making limits to the EXTREME, so here they are in the order I remember them!

Mega rum raisin!
1. XTREME BEAR HUNTING!: Two old guys attempt to kill a bear by stabbing it with a syringe full of headache medicine taped to the end of a small stick!  Why are they being stalked by a lone grizzly in Canada in the middle of winter?  Good question!  Please see 'science' for the answers you seek! 
2. XTREMELY RUM RAISIN MATTE LIPSTICK!: All the ladies wear it!  In a movie borrowing everything from other movies, they also manage to borrow fashion from the '90's and $60 from the make-up and wardrobe department to go CRAZY in the Bartell's cosmetic section.  Pharmacy store shopping spree to the XTREME!
3. XTREMELY LONG WAIT FOR THE MAIN STAR!: No, seriously.  Where the fuck is Treat?
4. XTREME CLIP RIPS!:  Right?!  See everything else written above!
5. XTREME JFK CONSPIRACY JOKES!: Agent Douglas makes at least three quips about knowing who killed JFK.  Unfortunately, since Agent Ross is shitty at protecting his partner from gunfire, the world may never know the real truth. Xtremely disappointing.
6. XTREME CONFUSION ABOUT THE INTERNET!: Understandably, the internet was in it's early stages of regular use when this film came out, although I'd like to think the CIA had a more comprehensive understanding of it at the time.  Regardless, several agents make references to "...I checked the internet," "...I found it on the internet," "...the internet said," and so on.  I guess the internet is where they found all those CLIFFHANGER clips.
7. XTREMELY LONG CONVERSATIONS ABOUT DEAD SPOUSES!: As the old people wait in the stranded half-plane hoping for some kind of make believe rescue, Dr. Hunter and old lady get into long drawn out stories about their passed on past loves.  REALLY get into.  In fact, they apparently fall in love with each other while sharing anecdotes on what her dead husband's favorite bourbon was and how Dr. Hunter was never there for his dead wife.  Xtremely hot dead spouse talk!
8. XTREMELY OLD STOCK FOOTAGE!: Not only does this movie use scenes straight out of other movies (some of which are are ten years old at the time of it's release), but it also uses stock footage of trains in motion, train stations and landscapes which are clearly from the 1970s-1980's!  The film quality is visibly different and it becomes even more xtremely noticeable when the people at the train station are clearly dressed like it's 1982 and it's no big deal, meaning a crew of extras that happened to have just returned from an 80's party is out of the question.  Xtremely lazy!
9. XTREME HISTORICAL INACCURACIES!: So, Tesla.  One time, he built this thing and called it a "Death Ray."  What does it do?  Oh, it like, blows up people.  Whatever.  Go back to high school.  It's in those books.
10. XTREMELY CONFLICTING STORIES!:  According to the trailer, there is a doomsday device.  According to the DVD packaging, it's highly sensitive explosives.  According to both, Treat Williams is the star of the movie.  According to the movie, that's not true.  Xtremely confusing!      

Times Douglas mentions JFK: 4
Borrowed Clips: 8-17
Mentions Of The Internet: 6
Random Possible Ethnic Slurs: 3
Amount Of Times Nicola Tesla Invented A Death Ray: 0 1   
Dead Spouse Stories: 5
Successful Bear Traps: 0
Minutes Before Treat Williams Is On Screen: 23
Dummies Thrown Off Cliffs: 2
Death Ray Is Used: 2
Flashbacks: 3 or 4?
What Did You Say?: 7
Best Head Shot Ever Provided To The Internet By An Actor Starring In EXTREME LIMITS That Is Not Treat Williams: 1

You're welcome.
*Xtreme Rollah blaadhin' is also known as "Soul-Skating."  See the Disney Channel for more info.

No comments:

Post a Comment