I’m all about singing-dancing Cuba Gooding, Jr. I’m all for you-really-like-me! Cuba Gooding, Jr. I’m all up on show-me-the-money Cuba Gooding, Jr. But Pepsi-One/What-Dreams-May-Come Cuba Gooding, Jr.? Nuh-uh.
Although he’s been in a dozen movies, Skeet Ulrich is best known for looking vaguely like Johnny Depp and wearing wife-beater undershirts and an outdated goatee.
And now, for the first time ever on film, Gooding and Ulrich have been brought together as the most unlikeliest of partners, an ice cream man and a cook, in Chill Factor, a Speed knock-off that somehow didn’t go directly to pay cable, didn’t pass go, didn’t collect $200.
The premise: on a mysterious island somewhere in the South Pacific, a loopy scientist (David Paymer) is testing a dangerous chemical code named Elvis on a platoon of soldiers who all die. The officer in charge (Peter Firth) is sentenced to a military prison where he plots his revenge on the scientist. Upon his release, the scientist hands-off the container of Elvis to cook Mason, with the warning that the contents can’t drop below 50 degrees or it’s uh-oh.
As luck would have it, Arlo drives up just in time with his ice cream delivery truck and the two set off to save the world, trailed by a team of mercenaries.
As derivative as all that sounds, Chill Factor does contain some thrilling action sequences from director and Ridley Scott-protégé, Hugh Johnson but not nearly enough to make up for a script that tries too hard to re-invent the buddy action flick and not hard enough to be original.