Making the Grades
As Extreme Everything has been on screens lately, it has got to be difficult to "one-up" some of the other titles. Perhaps that's why the creators of Extreme Ops made the decision to go "one-down" instead by replacing the usual cardboard heroes with more believable characters.
In fact, this group never sets out to be heroes at all; they simply want to make a commercial for a video camera. In a typical effort to keep the client happy, creative director Jeffrey (Rupert Graves) promises incredible stunts and images within a tight budget. He then hires a handful of extreme sports enthusiasts, a gold medal downhill skier named Chloe (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), and Ian (Rufus Sewell), a director who isn't afraid of taking risks.
To get that last shot (of the beautiful Chloe outrunning an avalanche), the gang finds a location high atop the Austrian Alps near the former Yugoslav border. For accommodations, they decide to stay in a partially built resort surrounded by Serbs. What they don't know is a dangerous Serbian war criminal also uses the complex as a hideout. After accidentally filming the mastermind who is in the midst of orchestrating a terrorist plot, the villain becomes convinced the film crew is nothing more than American spies -- and wants them dead. Left running (or in this case, skiing) for their lives, the original scenario to outrun an avalanche suddenly looks like an afternoon outing.
There are some other big moguls to look out for before having your family join this team. Tense moments abound, such as people dangling from cliffs and precipices while being shot at. Also, a couple of moments of sexuality, including two men who lie in the snow naked after a drunken dare (seen only from rear), provide unnecessary rough spots.
Yet the writers of this film do recognize that people who aren't perfect are more interesting. Each individual has flaws and fears and (even more impressive) the group works together to make each other better. Compared to the other "extreme" offerings in theaters, this movie's likable characters, interesting premise, and exceptional stunts make it the best choice thus far (relatively speaking) in a genre that provides few positive messages for teen viewing.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Extreme Ops.
Most of the amazing stunts in this film are done without using special effects. Obviously stunts in a movie like this pose great risks unless you are a professional taking the appropriate precautions. (Even then, Werner Koenig, a producer and professional skier, was killed in an avalanche during location scouting for this movie.) The website, http://extremeopsmovie.com, provides extensive detail of all the rigging and safety equipment required to create the many heart-pounding shots in this film. Also note that many of the activities depicted (like boarding on top of a train) would be illegal in reality.