Blue Ice (1992) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Blue Ice is kind of a forgotten spy story from HBO films, starring Michael Caine, Sean Young, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm. It was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who is probably best known for having helmed the cheesy cult hit Highlander, and its widely detested sequel, Highlander II: the Quickening.

Caine played a retired spy running a jazz club; Young played the oversexed wife of the American ambassador. They established an intimate relationship and formed a bond of trust which prompted her to ask him for a favor on a matter involving the last guy she had an affair with. Caine then used some old contacts to track the guy down in a flophouse, but before the men could talk face to face, bodies started piling up around Caine, including the bodies of some of his friends.

Throughout 95% of the film Caine had no idea what was going on and, frankly, neither did I, but I know that it involved British Intelligence, renegade British ex-Intelligence agents, American Intelligence, and Scotland Yard, and a lack of co-operation between said parties. I'm not sure how Caine fit into the whole thing, but everyone kept telling him to stay out of it, which really made no sense because he never wanted to get involved in it in the first place, and didn't even know what "it" was. In fact, he would ask, "Stay out of what?" He never did get a very good answer, but everyone seemed to think that he knew something about something, so he was regularly beaten and tortured for a while by people trying to persuade him to "talk."

With a couple of his best friends dead and his own life in danger, Caine finally decided to fight back, and started evening up the body count. His pursuit led him to ... well, does it matter? It's difficult to feel rewarded by the answer when the film never really explains the question.

Despite the top stars, Blue Ice is a weak "Who knows? Who cares?" story which was produced for HBO films back when HBO wasn't yet the top drawer organization that they are today. According to Citizen Caine, "This was the first film from Michael's own production company, M&M Productions, which he formed with Martin Bregman. The intention was to develop projects for Michael Caine to direct and/or star in. Due to the lack of success of the film, this was also the last film from M&M Productions."

Oh, well, so the film isn't a world-beater, but it does have a good cast and offers a few moments of entertainment:

  • The pianist/singer at Caine's club is played by the legendary Bobby Short, and he does snippets of several numbers. That's either a great treat if you're into his sound, or a complete time-waster if you're not.
  • Sean Young does a nude scene, mostly from the rear, although a wayward breast does fly by for a second here and a frame there. She also shows off her long, shapely legs in several short and tight skirts.
  • The denouement is a creative chase scene which meanders through the London docks and involves some odd cargo-hauling vehicles. It ends with quite an entertaining shoot-out between Ian Holm and Michael Caine. Holm is carrying an automatic rifle when he is hooked by a cargo crane, but he is uninjured, so as he spins wildly in mid-air, he continues to unload round after round in Caine's general direction until Caine finally gets off a fatal shot with his pistol.
  • Bob Hoskins provides some good moments and a couple of laughs playing his usual role as the tough, seedy, working class guy who is really kind of nice. I guess Hoskins is sorta like the older, British version of John Leguizamo.

Oh, yeah. The title ...

According to the script, Blue Ice is the frozen mass that falls from the blue sky when jet airliners unload the waste material accumulated in their toilets.

What does that have to do with this movie? Beats the shit out of me.



  • Unlike most HBO DVDs, this one is a miserable, color-faded full screen transfer with no features of any kind.



Sean Young - buns before and during a sex scene, and a brief look at her left breast in a few dark, fleeting frames.

Breasts from a female corpse in the morgue

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C-, a watchable (if confusing) film for espionage genre lovers, but not a film worth driving out of your way for.

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