Friday, 7 March 2014

That's Rogertainment! Rogisode 3:
Fire, Ice And Dynamite

The Winter Olympics may be a distant, homophobic memory, but they were the catalyst for my viewing of this 1990 German film starring Sir Roger Moore as the instigator of an extreme alpine sports competition for reasons too stupid to go into (although fear not; I will). Having vigorously enjoyed watching various women's curling teams in action in Sochi, I assumed I might be in for similar entertainment with this stunts-in-the-snow flick; I could not have been more wrong if I had asked John Travolta to introduce Georgian footballer Rati Tsinamdzghvrishvili to Madagascan president Hery Martial Rakotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina.
Rodge plays wealthy businessman Sir George Windsor, the board of whose company are diametrically opposed to his policies of not slaughtering rhinos or burning rainforests down. Rather than firing these imbeciles who he has mysteriously appointed despite their obvious lack of suitability for their role, Sir George opts for the clearly more sensible choice: to fake his own suicide. Via a supposedly pre-death video, he then arranges the Megathon, a series of winter sports open to all, with the winner receiving his entire fortune. If you haven't died of disbelief yet, his blind hope grand plan is that his three illegitimate children - none of whom he knows from Adam - will enter and win, keeping the money in the family. As great plots go, this isn't one.

What it is, in fact, is the world's shittest excuse for over an hour of stunts arranged by director Willy Bogner, who did such sterling work on the skiing sequences in various James Bond films. The stunts, which consist primarily of people on skis falling over, aren't a patch on anything from Bond, and have the added burden of being linked by some of the worst characters ever committed to film. It's worth taking a moment to examine some of them:
  • Alexander, one of Sir George's offspring, is as camp as Christmas, yet is seen entwined with a lady at one point because while being squealingly camp is obviously hilarious, being gay is clearly out of the question.
  • Another son, Dudley, is played by Roger Moore's own son Geoffrey. He does literally nothing of any note whatsoever.
  • One of the teams consists of a bald brother and sister, comedy villains who are as incompetent as they are irritating.
  • One competitor is funny because he really likes bananas.

Lowlights of the film include the competition's opening ceremony, which namechecks a lengthy list of disparate sponsors who presumably contributed to the film's budget, and which also shoehorns in several baffling, one-shot cameos: why Isaac Hayes, Nikki Lauda, Buzz Aldrin and Jennifer Rush would ever be found in the same place is a colossal mystery which the film chooses not to address. There's also a scrotum-tighteningly awful scene in which Sir George's daughter Lucy revitalises her flagging team by performing the kind of appalling rock song Germans really went for in their immediately post-Berlin Wall days.

If there is anything noteworthy about Fire, Ice And Dynamite, it is that one sequence takes place at Switzerland's Verzasca Dam, and features a stuntman bungee-jumping from the top of it. If that sounds familiar, it's because the stunt would be repeated five years later (far more impressively) at the exact same location for GoldenEye. It's interesting that in all of that Bond film's promotional material, nobody makes reference to the Roger Moore stinker which predated it.
The whole sorry affair is like The Cannonball Run in woolly mittens, but devoid of anything that made that film watchable, and it delights in frequently challenging you to avoid ejecting the DVD, smashing it into pieces and severing your optic nerves with a shard of the disc. But this is That's Rogertainment!, so what of the man himself? Surely his very presence elevates it from one-star catastrophe to two-star catastrophe with a bona fide legend in it?

Yeah, no. Presumably out of loyalty to Willy Bogner for making him look so good in For Your Eyes Only, Rodge suffers indignities like having to deliver the line "Saving these rainforests may one day save this planet", before popping up sporadically during the rest of the film disguised as his own Scottish butler, complete with an accent which fools nobody but his idiotic offspring.
"Hoots! Ah'm mah oon Scortesh butla ye noo. Wood ye layk sum haggess? Etc."

Rodge even refuses to go into any detail about the film in his autobiography, except to say that his son was quite good in it, which is nice of him. It's more than anyone involved in this icy bollocks deserves.

I'm beginning to wonder if this whole project was a good idea.