Hip Hop Cinema: Cool As Ice review

 Cool as Ice


We watched it so you don't have to. This Vanilla Ice vehicle is a car crash. It essentially is a collection of music videos with a low grade story line thrown in which feels like something "footloose lite", very light. It opens up with a music video for Cool as Ice which pairs everyones favourite all-rapping-all-dancing early '90's real life Jonny Bravo, Vanilla Ice, with professional model and champion mobile phone slinger, Naomi Campbell who is pretending to be a singer (she gets credited as a singer on this track and according to our very basic research, she had an album come out in 1994 as well so, maybe she can sing) while a variety of hip hop dancers rock the beat to a "hit" that peaked at #81 in the billboard charts. 

The film would not have been made had Ice Cube not been signed to act in Boyz in the Hood. So we have Ice Cube to blame for this? No, we have white middle America to blame for this and, of course, Vanilla Ice. It is one of those films that tried to include everything that a survey of 9 year old boys would think was cool in the early '90's: Vanilla Ice, motorbikes, Vanilla Ice, dancing, memorable and incredible poorly delivered one liners, winter clothes and quite significant layering in summertime, and Vanilla Ice. It seems to have tried to grasp elements of other successful teen type films of the period and manages to churn them together to create cinematic turd, but probably an emoji turd, kind of fun but still shit.

To quickly outline and take the piss out of everything in this film, a biker gang led by Vanilla Ice are out on their bikes and Vanilla Ice does a massive jump into a field and startles a horse and its owner, love interest, Catherine. They have a brief confrontation and then they go about their business...

Later in a small town one of the bikers bikes breaks down. A fat joke is made that I feel a 7 year old me would have laughed at. The gang find a older and slightly eccentric couple to fix the bike but it does not go amazingly smoothly and the gang are going to be forced to stay in this town for a day or two. 

Honestly, it was difficult to really remember the full narrative arch because essentially it is the punctuation of musical interludes that are memorable for feeling really out of place.

The story is incredibly generic and thin, partly because the musical interludes feel very shoehorned in...The performance at the youth club(?) is odd and the weird coercive control storyline between Catherine and her boyfriend in the parking lot afterward seems pretty odd. In actual fact, this is probably the most interesting thing in the film but it is not explored beyond a short 2 minutes. 

Vanilla Ice is presented as the opposite of Catherine's boyfriend. A relationship of sorts ensues. Meanwhile, we discover that Catherine's dad is in witness protection and some bad guys are after him. 

Catherines brother gets kidnapped, Vanilla Ice saves the day...That is about it. Am I selling this well? The closing part of the film when Vanilla Ice jumps over a car on his bike feels like how all episodes of Biker Mice From Mars might have ended. That is the film. Then they add on some more music video stuff.

Vanilla Ice's clothes are amazing. Although it is difficult to work out where he kept so many outfit changes on his bike as he had no bag and no container on the bike within which he could have stored his clothes. His Stussy t shirt is cool (after watching this film I started trying to find the same piece online) and his jackets could easily grace the frame of a rapper or influencer today. The trousers perhaps less so. His haircut is incredible and one can only imagine how much influence his whole look had on everyones 9th favourite boyband, 5ive.

So, is it worth watching? Yeah, it is always good to watch something horrifically bad and talk all the way through and rewind the particularly cheesy bits. It might have been unfairly marked down because by 1991 Vanilla Ice's star was already fading pretty fast and no one liked him. Plenty of other vehicle films during this period were equally terrible if not more so (Barbed Wire / The Last Action Hero). In the genre of "here is a famous person who is famous and people will consume this because they are famous" films, this is not the worst. Best watched with friends while talking over the film and largely ignoring it...Extra nonsense from our wikipedia research, Gwyneth Paltrow turned down a role in the film. Wise.