The Cutting Edge: Chasing the Dream – DVD Review

Available At Amazon.com

Apparently the motif in Hollywood now is that if you can find a successful movie, regardless of its quality, you can somehow make a sequel to it. The Direct to DVD market has exploded to the point where there have been relatively lesser known sequels to successful films. Slap ShotI and Bring It On have a handful of sequels to their name littering shelves at discount stores, and now have been joined in excess by The Cutting Edge.

Released in 1992, it had modest commercial success in its theatrical run and found a second life on VHS/DVD. And with the general lack of new stories to tell, films that didn’t need or warrant sequels are getting them en masse. The Cutting Edge: Chasing the Dream marks the second sequel to The Cutting Edge and follows nearly the exact same plot.

Zach (Matt Lanter) and Celeste (Sarah Gadon) are the cream of the skating world and the golden couple of American figure skating. When an accident in practice leaves Celeste with a broken ankle, Zach needs a new partner and none can be found. Enter Alex (Francia Raisa), a female hockey player with a disdain for figure skating. After his coach leaves him to coach his rivals, Jackie Dorsey (Christy Romano) is coaxed into coaching the newfound duo.

This would be all fine and dandy as a skating film, but the problem is that a short while ago Blades of Glory ruthlessly parodied the film and its wondrous skating maneuver, the Pamchemko, and this film begins as almost a self-parody right out of the gate. Throw in the usual level of direct to video acting, some interesting choices for music and a cast that seems chosen more for the ability to look like a young Ashton Kutcher and Penelope Cruz, respectively, and you have all the making for a film that looks surprisingly beautiful yet manages to contain nothing of note or interest.

The film’s cinematography is wonderful, though, as the one thing the film does get right is be visually engaging. The ice skating scenes are terrific in how they look; there’s a chill in the air early on in the film when Zach is practicing. There’s smoke, his face is obscured and dark. He’s the lone skater, obsessed with getting better, and the visual tells more about the story than any of hackneyed storyline developments can. It’s wonderfully set up, like several other scenes are, and does much more for this film than it deserves. The film’s

As uninspiring and clichéd as the original was, The Cutting Edge: Chasing the Dream is something akin to trying to squeeze as much milk from the original teet as possible.

Presented in a Dolby Digital format with a widescreen format, the DVD has a terrific transfer. For a film with a cruddy production, it has top notch production values.

The Making of The Cutting Edge: Chasing the Dream is your usual making of featurette about the film’s production. Apparently the pressure of trying to follow up on the first film, released nearly two decades ago. The feature focuses on how hard they had to work to become credible skaters, as neither of the main actors had been skaters before, and they brought in expert skaters to teach them as well as double who look eerily like them.

Deleted Scenes are included, and while they have the same level of audio/visual finish the film itself has, they don’t add anything back into the film.

There are some films that don’t need or warrant sequels, and The Cutting Edge was one of them. With this film marking an unholy trilogy of sorts, a recommendation for anything but would be unnecessarily cruel.

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MGM presents The Cutting Edge: Chasing the Dream. Directed by Stuart Gillard. Starring Matt Lanter, Sarah Gadon, Francia Raisa, Christy Romano. Written by Randall M. Badet, Susan Estelle-Jansen. Running time: 92 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: April 1, 2008. Available At Amazon.com

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