display | more...

While "Cool as Ice" will forever be primarily seen as, and judged as, a Vanilla Ice vehicle, and be seen in the context of the state of American pop culture before the grunge explosion, there are two more important names to remember when looking at the creative process that went into making Cool as Ice.

The first name is David Kellogg, the director. His name is hardly familiar: "Cool as Ice" was his directorial debut for a feature film, and perhaps because of the movie's reputation, he would only return to directing movies one more time, with the live action Inspector Gadget movie in 1999. However, he has had a long and successful career directing both music videos and television commercials, as well as softcore erotica for Playboy Magazine. His directorial efforts were well received in those realms, but he seems to have had trouble transitioning to directing anything over about five minutes long.

The second name is Janusz Kaminski, the cinematographer for this film. This was his debut doing cinematography for a major motion picture. Two years after making this movie, he would team up with Steven Spielberg to film Schindler's List, earning him an Academy Award for cinematography, and launching him into a partnership with Spielberg where he would work on several very critically and commercially successful films, including Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Minority Report and Lincoln.

So in other words: the visual art of this movie combines the directorial instincts of someone who makes Pepsi commercials and Lionel Richie videos with the photography work of someone who made profoundly moving films. Visually, this is an interesting movie. When Kellogg is allowed to film heavily stylized scenes, such as the "standard American family getting ready for dinner", it is actually interesting and novel. The slightly surreal landscapes and town locales are also interesting. The films failure is that, past these scenes, Kellogg can't really propel the narrative, even when the movie looks interesting.

So I would say that while Vanilla Ice's acting, and the reheating of the plot of The Wild One, make this movie good as kitsch and as a period piece, the visual storytelling of the movie is interesting and unironically good. So if you want to watch 90 minutes of Vanilla Ice acting to see some good cinematography, this movie is for you!