Aspen Extreme (1993)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Buddy Film, Melodrama, Sports Drama  |   Release Date - Jan 22, 1993 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Fans hoping for bawdy comedy and gratuitous T & A -- the hallmarks of the skiing genre since Hot Dog: The Movie -- will be out of luck with Aspen Extreme. It offers the usual remote ski sequences, which feel clipped from a Warren Miller highlight reel, but the rest of the formula is softened into a PG-13 drama. If it weren't for the presence of Peter Berg, who would go on to bigger and better things, this would be a strictly C-grade genre movie about lessons learned in life, love, and skiing -- and a fairly heavy-handed one at that. In fact, souring the light tone is the downward spiral of Berg's Dex, who gets wrapped up in a drug deal before heading further south into the quagmire. The drug deal constitutes a strange little anomaly in the film, as director Patrick Hasburgh momentarily leaves behind his unobtrusive, straightforward camera work, replacing it with a bunch of quick cuts, spins, and other visual flourishes that have the show-offy quality of a director given one scene to indulge in his pretentious whims. Then the film resumes its normal pace as if nothing had happened. Because of occasional misplaced ambitiousness like this, Aspen Extreme seems like it wants to go beyond its appropriate fast food level. Maybe with Steve Zaillian, Oscar-winning screenwriter for Schindler's List the same year, contributing to the script, the producers thought it should be more than just another ski movie.