Apparently movies can inspire. Take “XXX” for example. This movie is all about an extreme sports junkie who captures his thrills on videotape and saves the world from terrorists.

Paul Wong
Courtesy of Paramount
More than words.

Now fast-forward to a few months later, and enter “Extreme Ops.” This movie is all about extreme sports junkies who capture their thrills on videotape and save the world from terrorists (Do not attempt to adjust your newspaper, you are not seeing double; both movies do have the same plot).

It is possible that writers Michael Zaidan, Timothy Scott Bogart and Mark Mullin knew that their plot had been used before, because they only leave the last half-hour of the movie to develop the conflict that evidently will threaten the world. Rather than expanding this potentially intriguing plot, the majority of the movie focuses on the filming of a digital video camera commercial. And since the commercial couldn’t take up enough time for a whole movie, a terrorist plot was added just to fill space.

Even if “Extreme Ops” was original, it would still not be worth seeing. The intolerable characters have awful dialogue, and the less-than-impressive tricks are done in front of less-than-believable backgrounds. The crew of the commercial consists of the high-strung producer, Jeffrey (Rupert Graves), the cameraman completely obsessed with his camera, Will (Devon Sawa), and the bold and fearless director, Ian (Rufus Sewell). Two members of the cast of the commercial, Kittie (Jana Pallaske) and Silo (Joe Absolom), really need to be tamed, while the third, Chloe (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), needs to learn how to loosen up. The accents of some of the characters make their speech impossible to understand, although the characters you can understand will make you wish you couldn’t. The one time (yes, one time) the terrorists’ plan is mentioned you can barely comprehend what it is, but you are “fortunate” enough to clearly understand lines such as, get your barf bags ready, “I can do anything I put my mind to.”

The fact that the plot is improperly balanced might not have been as frustrating if the stunts that take up much of the movie were more impressive or convincing. It is too easy to tell when the stunt doubles take over and when the background becomes a bluescreen. And many of the tricks performed are not as extreme as the title of the movie leads you to expect. The one stunt that had the potential to save the movie, a group of skiers and snowboarders trying to outrun an avalanche, has already been done before in, you guessed it, “XXX.”

The part of the plot that should take up the bulk of the movie is poorly developed, possibly due to its lack of time. The mountaintop resort where the commercial crew is staying just happens to be the hideout of Serbian war criminal Slobodan Pavle (Klaus Lowitsch), who early on in the movie faked his own death in a plane crash. One night while exploring the resort, Will unknowingly gets Pavle on camera. When the terrorists get word of this, they come to the conclusion that Will and company are CIA agents (of course, who wouldn’t?), and that killing them is the only option. This leads to a race-and-chase down the mountain that doesn’t last very long, further shortening the time devoted to the “most important” issue of the movie.

It is a wonder why and how this movie was ever made. Rufus Sewell has to hope he is better remembered for “A Knight’s Tale” or “Dark City.” Bridgette Wilson-Sampras now has to hope someone remembers she was Miss Veronica Vaughn in “Billy Madison,” or that she is married to tennis star Pete Sampras. And Vin Diesel now has to hope that nobody thinks that “Extreme Ops” is in anyway connected to “XXX,” or else the sequel will bust for sure.

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