Age Of Ice (2014)

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Or, as I like to call it, “The Story of the Psychopath Son Who Keeps Trying To Kill His Family, And The Incompetent Father Who Takes Advantage Of The Friendly Locals”.

This film is bad, even by the standards of The Asylum (yes, our old enemies are back). Poor script, really poor acting, poor special effects, a pace that I’d call glacial only that would be a pun and it might provide the merest hint of enjoyment, which is more than you deserve if you have anything to do with watching this. Even my wife, protected from the worst by having a magazine to read, went “damn, this is rough”. This is right down at the bottom of the Asylum’s barrel, along with “Titanic 2”, “Rise Of The Zombies” and “Apocalypse Pompeii”.

For absolutely no reason whatsoever, Egypt suffers a weather catastrophe – earthquakes and so on, which causes several feet of snow to fall. Well, it’s several feet in some places, hundreds of feet in others and none, here and there. We see this destroy some American and Omani Naval vessels in the Gulf of Oman, but because that might possibly be exciting we then go to the people we’ll be spending the entirety of the film with, a boring American family.

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I’ve complained in the past about being annoyed that it’s always an expert who gets caught up in the potential apocalypse, but that would be better – anything would be better – than just a normal family on their holidays in Egypt. The Dad shows his lack of basic competence right from the beginning and never deviates from that; the mother never really does anything; the daughter just flirts with the cute local guy (who it turns out is the son of Oman’s defence minister); and the son. Oh, the son.

I was praying for his death almost from the minute he turned up on screen, even though I knew it was never going to happen. They try and make their way to safety, although they’ve got no real idea where they’re going til the halfway point or so, and use various forms of transport. They’re on a train, but the son “falls” off the back so the rest of the family has to abandon it, and nearly dies; they use cars, but the son’s insistence on exploring some irrelevant bit of land leads to them abandoning them; and they find camels later on, but the son falls off the side of a pyramid (okay, a snow drift right next to and as tall as a pyramid) forcing everyone to follow him down and abandon yet another form of transport. He clearly hates his family for bringing him on a holiday he had no interest in, sees his opportunity and tries his best to exploit it.

The father is just useless. He crumbles at the first sign of adversity, crashes a car, values his idiot of a son above his wife, daughter and all the other people that are implausibly relying on him to get them to safety, and jeopardises many of the locals. Every Egyptian they meet is incredibly generous and helpful (a good sign that some of the funding came from that part of the world – not a single bad guy among em all) but everything they give to our main family is destroyed or ruined within minutes. Actually, to say he’s useless is an insult to useless people.

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I’m not entirely sure this film had a script. If you’re ever unfortunate enough to watch it, you’ll see the way the film is just a series of failed transport choices, and how the dialogue feels like they were given vague outlines more than actual pages of text. More importantly is how the film does nothing to set up its world. There’s no indication that, in a film called “Age Of Ice”, anywhere other than Egypt has been affected, despite the father repeating that the storm isn’t going to go away. He says they need to get to safety before nightfall or they’ll die, but there’s zero indication why. And why do we give a damn about this completely normal family? What makes their struggle special or interesting or worthy of being made into a film?

I’ve not even really got to the logic holes the film has – like how, in a storm which has lasted less than a day, it wouldn’t be physically possible to snow enough to get to the top of the Great Pyramid (481 feet). Or how the people in the cars froze to death yet our “heroes” are running around with not a care in the world. Or how a skinny woman managed to pull a large truck with a 5 ton winch over the side of a cliff. And so on, and so on. I feel even spending this much effort to describe this is giving it more credit than it deserves.

One of the most thoroughly miserable films I’ve ever seen. If it’s a choice between watching this again and being shot, I think I’d pick being shot. At least that would be a new experience.

Rating: thumbs down

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