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Film / Icebreaker

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Ski Bums never say die.

Die Hard at a ski resort.

Directed by David Giancola and starring Sean Astin, Bruce Campbell, and Stacy Keach, Icebreaker is a basic action movie in which ski patrolman Matt (Astin) is forced to save the patrons of the Mount Killington Ski Resort from the machinations of a dying terrorist, Carl Greig, when a nuclear device crashes on the resort's property. Among the hostages are his fiance Meg, and her father Bill (Keach), who disapproves of his daughter's fiance.

Released in 2000, the movie got a second life when it was re-released through RiffTrax in early 2016 with their typical mocking commentary. This was the second film they would distribute that was created by Vermont's own Edgewood Studios.


This Film provides examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Greig is about to blow up Meg and Matt with a rocket launcher, having failed to get the nuclear device and just looking for revenge. He's about to pull the trigger... we see a massive explosion... and we see Bill standing behind Matt and Meg, having blown up Greig with his own rocket launcher.
  • Bald of Evil: Greig, though with the explanation that he's dying of cancer and presumably this is a side effect.
    • Artistic License – Medicine: He's still got eyebrows, when chemotherapy would cause all his hair to fall out (granted, this mistake is incredibly common in fiction).
  • Captain Obvious: Played for laughs. Meg has been trapped inside a gondola with a bomb strapped to it for several minutes when Matt finally shows up, shouting "There's a bomb!" To which she shouts "NO SHIT!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: Greig gives Matt a video tape that he's supposed to pass along to the press to explain his motives. The viewer naturally expects to see the contents of the tape at some point. Instead, the tape winds up with Beck, who throws it at Sondra during a snow mobile chase, causing her to crash into explosives and die. We never see the tape again.
    • A more literal example: Bill gets the rocket launcher at the end of the film and blows up Greig before he has a chance to kill Matt and Meg.
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  • Embarrassing Nickname: Bill's derisive reference to Matt as "Ski Bum Matt" when Greig is listening to their conversation leads to Greig constantly calling him this for the rest of the film.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Meg and her father's discussion about Matt is easily overheard by Greig, who learns about Matt working for the resort AND that he has a loved one he can use as a hostage.
  • Hostage Situation: After Greig learns that his men have lost the device and the detonator, he takes the patrons of the Summit restaurant hostage, driving most of the film's plot.
  • Idiot Ball: Greig's henchman that decides the best way to transport a nuclear device is to hold a gun on a pilot that isn't sympathetic to the cause... rather than just hiring a pilot that won't ask questions and maybe won't decide to kick off the movie by dive bombing the plane in a suicide manuever.
    • Matt never even pretends to follow any of Greig's instructions. This wouldn't be so bad if he didn't make choices like deciding to break into the restaurant to rescue Meg... and getting captured because he made a lot of noise grabbing a snack.
      • And really, after that, you'd have to wonder why Greig trusts Matt with another task at that point after knowing Matt will just do whatever he wants, but nonetheless, he tries to make Matt deliver a tape of his motives to the media and lets him go.
  • MacGuffin: The nuclear device that crashes at the start of the film is the goal of Greig and the events of the film take place as he tries to retrieve it so he can go out in a blaze of glory.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Bill is not happy that Meg plans to marry the perpetually broke Matt. He somewhat comes around at the end of the film because Matt saves Meg's life.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: This role is mostly filled by the hapless park ranger Beck, who's not the sharpest tool in the shed. In spite of that, he's surprisingly competent at taking out terrorists.
  • Police are Useless: Law enforcement in the film is largely incapable of putting a dent in Greig's plans. Langley is built up as Greig's nemesis... only to be easily dispatched when his helicopter is blown up because his crack sniper is unable to land a shot on Greig while he's holding Meg in front of him.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Besides its utter cheapness, Icebreaker is distinguished from its "Die Hard" on an X classmates by being so shameless as to use the same piece of public domain music - Beethoven's 9th - as the original.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: The movie opens as a kidnapped pilot, forced by one of Greig's henchman to ferry the nuclear device to its intended destination, chooses to instead crash the plane into the wilderness and save other people from the henchman and the device. Unfortunately, the device AND the henchman survive and the device being close to a populated ski resort leads to many more deaths as Greig has no qualms murdering his way back to it.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Greig never states any kind of allegiance. We only assume he's as violent as he is because he gets off on it, but ironically, even though he provides Matt with a video tape to give to the press that will explain his motives, we never actually learn those motives.
  • Western Terrorists: All of the terrorists we see in the film are Americans (except probably Sondra given that she has an English accent.)

Example of: