21 July 2000 | stephen niz
The Wild One, Easy Rider...Cool as Ice?
For those too young to remember, Vanilla Ice was a malignant tumor growing on the popular music scene ten years ago. Along with MC Hammer and Marky Mark he pilfered and diluted black music to make it commercially acceptable to middle-class white children. His flash-in-the-pan `attitude' eventually fizzled away - but not before becoming the blueprint for every idiot bad-boy pop star on top of the charts today.
Cut to ten years later, and the threat of an Ice comeback is unlikely. It's the perfect time to watch COOL AS ICE. The film bombed on release, and signaled the end was nigh for Vanilla Ice. Watching it today, the star reduced to a relic of inane pop history, the film becomes a candidate for the best worst film of all time.
Rebels and their motorcycles have a history on screen. They define the times. Marlon Brando was the quintessential bad boy when he rode into town as THE WILD ONE. Fast-forward fifteen years and history repeats: Fonda and Hopper rewrite the Hollywood rulebook in EASY RIDER.
In COOL AS ICE, the bad boy of rap rides into the suburbs with his all-black posse, ready to reap havoc on suburbia, right? Wrong. Ice's crew only reappear when director David Kellogg requires a cut-away shot. Even then, rather than scaring the local children, they're making peanut-butter sandwiches and watching TV. They sit around, waiting for Vanilla to get the girl.
The romantic sub-plot is a peach. She's the highest achieving student in town, but will she risk her future for Vanilla Ice? He's a self-educated poet of the street, although his actual words of wisdom somehow escape me at the moment. The sub-sub plot involves her father, who we are led to believe was the most honest cop on a corrupt force. Despite seemingly being transplanted back into the same community, he doesn't mind going on television so the bad guys can find him.
There's a few other sub-sub-sub plots of minimal concern, but no real story. It's a star vehicle resting on the shoulders of a ludicrously vain idiot. Fortunately, his fifteen minutes of fame and torture translates to a typically foolish ninety minutes. The most vain ego exercise in Hollywood history? Perhaps. All in vain? Definitely.