5 Terrible Movies Desperately Trying To Cash In On Snowboarding
What was Hollywood thinking?
For years Hollywood has been milking cash cows for all they're worth, getting its incredibly grubby mitts on things that people are truly passionate about and pawning off low-grade versions just to make a few quick bucks.
I'm still not ready to talk about Indiana Jones 4, it hurts too much.
But this tendency extends beyond shoddy franchise instalments to whatever happens to be fashionable at the time with clumsy handling of everything from skating...
...to the current fad of crowbarring free running into every movie possible. Even ones about dancing.
Snowboarding hasn't escaped the fat cats' greedy gaze either. Now don't get me wrong, more snowboarding on screen is a good thing, but only if it really represents snowboarding.
There's no need to doll it up with special effects and smother it in CGI or push it to the background just to hook kids into watching the latest romcom or soulless High School Musical clone.
If Hollywood is going to make snowboard movies all we ask is that they do it right and show the scene that we all fell in love with rather than some airbrushed, perma-tanned version of it.
So without further ado, here are the nominations for the 5 worst snowboard movie cash-ins of all time.
[part title="Snowboard Academy"]
The trailer for Snowboard Academy claims "It's an outrageous-alanche of high velocity mayhem! Snowboard Academy is the school of cool!" Which must be the only positive review this movie has ever received.
It has been described variously as "a new candidate for worst movie of all time", "an abomination of the sport", "like being hit on the head with a frying pan" and (our personal favourite) "made by people wearing blindfolds and drinking warm Red Bull". Few comedies have ever been so badly upstaged in the funny stakes by their own reviews.
"Few comedies have ever been so badly upstaged in the funny stakes by their own reviews."
Starring '90s icon Corey Haime and the worst Russian accent ever by a playboy cover model (Brigette Nielsen) this movie focuses on "the riotous rivalry between snobby skiers and knuckle-dragging snowboarders".
Despite some half decent riding, Snowboard Academy falls flatter than one of Jim Varney's "hilarious" slapstick pratfalls. Bolting the sport onto a weak and uncared-for comedy is a classic example of a cash-grabbing venture trying to use snowboarding to make a quick buck.
The horror genre and snowsports have never worked convincingly together and this grim little movie is no exception.
Frozen is a ridiculously contrived film which relies on idiotic characters coupled with a series of unbelievable coincidences to create a situation that could only happen in a movie.
Not to be confused with the recent Disney children's animation (which is scary enough anyway) two boarders and a skier blag some free lift passes from a confused lifty, sneak on the last lift and somehow get stuck up there for the whole weekend.
"It relies on idiotic characters coupled with a series of unbelievable coincidences.
Despite this being the most ridiculous way to run a resort the stupidity doesn't end there. The hapless trio wait on the chair long enough to get frostbite, whiling away the time by getting their hands frozen to the metal railings, before one snowboarder jumps 40 feet onto the ice below, shattering his legs.
Meanwhile the token skier takes two days to climb out along the lift cable. And that's all before the wolves arrive...
Trust the French to make a movie about one of the funnest sports on the planet and turn it into a brooding psychological melodrama.
In fairness, this looks like it might have some decent riding in it, and the presence of legendary French rider David Vincent on the cast list (playing a character called simply "Z") is encouraging.
But one read of the plot summary is enough to tell you that this is going to be rubbish.
"Trust the French to turn one of the funnest sports on the planet into a brooding psychological melodrama."
Snowboarder's young hero (who seems to be suffering from some kind of Satre-esque existential breakdown) is taken under the wing of an experienced snowboarder, who is not all that he seems.
Complete with a bad guys dressed in black, a creepy organ-and-choir-based soundtrack and dramatic John Woo-style mid air crashes this is snowboarding Jim, but not as we know it.
[part title="Triple X"]
This had to make the list. As one of Hollywood's most rampant attacks on action sports Triple X (or xXx in case you'd forgotten just how "X-treme" it was), tried to tick as many adrenaline fuelled boxes as possible, cramming everything from motocross and skateboarding to climbing, base-jumping and of course snowboarding into one giant mess of a movie.
It's a shame because the prospect of Vin Diesel as a gritty, muscle-bound James Bond using extreme sports to defeat the bad guys had promise.
But thanks to heavy reliance on CGI and a lead character throwing his toys out of the pram because 'the man' won't let him play GTA this became a cartoon instead of the edgy, cool thriller it could have been (think more along the lines of The Pacifier than Pitch Black in the Diesel oeuvre).
"This is more along the lines of The Pacifier than Pitch Black in the Diesel oeuvre."
This heavy-handed treatment left its finger prints all over the movie's token snowboard scene as Vin dives out of a plane strapped to his board - whose bindings helpfully change angles mid air so that he can both airboard and snowboard as he hits the mountain below.
As Diesel spots the bad guys racing up the valley he decides there's only one sensible course of action and throws grenades into the snow behind him. This creates an avalanche of epic CGI proportions that he somehow outpaces down the mountain, before using that tried and tested avalanche safety technique - clinging to a flimsy aerial - to save him from hundreds of tonnes of white death.
To cap it all off Vin digs himself out of the avalanche that has smothered him (somehow conscious and able to move unlike most avalanche victims and utters the unforgivable line "Nothing like fresh powder!"
[part title="A View to A Kill"]
This is what xXx wishes it could be. It's the first time snowboarding ever cropped up in a mainstream movie and there is no way that any snowboard movie countdown would be complete without this James Bond gem, which manages to be both awesome and awesomely bad at the same time.
The scene opens with Bond's hilariously '80s snowmobile exploding in a hail of mini-gun fire before the sleazy British spy grabs one of the snowmobile skis, somehow straps it to his feet and slides off down the mountain.
"The sleazy British spy grabs one of the snowmobile skis, somehow straps it to his feet and slides off down the mountain."
In what must rank as one of the most jarring movie soundtrack choices of all time the brooding bond theme suddenly cuts to California Girls by the Beach Boys, turning what could have been a classic Bond snowboard chase into more of a Benny Hill sketch.
But although it's cheesy as hell, we can't help but love this. It helps that the legendary Tom Sims (RIP) doubled up for Roger Moore, but it's more the fact that it's someone as high profile as James Bond and he's snowboarding! I mean your nan probably watches this at Christmas right?
Have we missed any awful snowboard movie cash-ins? Let us know in the comments section.