***** Review of “Cool as Ice” (1991)

 

“Cool as Ice” is a word to your mother. Indeed, a word to all our mothers and a long lost, aching masterpiece from 1991.

The prestigious “Razzie” Awards, bestowed annually by the Rasmussen Institute, we believe, fittingly gave their highest prize that year to this timeless, gut-punch of suburban street violence and teenage angst. Helmed by first time director David Kellogg, best known for his groundbreaking series of 7 Up commercials (“It’s like Sprite! YEAH BOII!”), “Cool as Ice” offers a searing look at troubled youth and biker justice. Punctuated with straight-from-the-hood musical authenticity, it eschews the typical Hollywood gloss and “keeps it real”, speaking to the tragic, historically hard to reach white homies.

Ice holding two of his Peabody Awards.

Original gangster/musical gadfly Vanilla Ice makes his stunning debut as the street-wise, rebellious biker masking his inner torment through dope lyrics that violently slice like a ninja. Sporting a forbidding, checkerboard fade, his angry sexual confusion is barely concealed by a surreal, towering bouffant. It’s a devastating howl for understanding, displaying the astute instincts that garnered Ice his own richly deserved “Razzie”. Showing an attention to actorly craft beyond his years, reminiscent of Olivier, Ice wears his pajama bottoms throughout the movie, a textbook symptom of depression, so that when he poignantly sings the lyrics, “Stop, collaborate and listen”, we do. It cuts so deeply into our souls, like a ninja, we have no choice but to listen. And collaborate.

We CAN’T look away. When he’s buggin, we buggin too. The world be buggin. To quote Mr. Ice himself, his words are “like a chemical spill, feasible rhymes that can vision and feel.” So ninja-slicingly true! The feasibilty of his rhymes are unquestioned, they’re like chemical spills of truth. This whole movie is like a chemical spill. In the tradition of kitchen sink dramas tackling the difficult problems of youth alienation, this classic offers its own modest solution: just add Ice. Vanilla Ice. Let’s hope our leaders take heed. 5 stars

(This movie is currently an Instant Watch on Netflix)

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