1987 / Director. Mike Firth.
This is my final review for 2013 and I sure as hell wasn't expecting it to be THE LEADING EDGE. An import DVD copy arrived in the post today as a bonus film with another one I had purchased. Having just watched a couple of b-movies earlier, I thought I'd give this one a whirl. I watched it once, years ago but didn't remember much of it. It tells the story of an American snow skier who visits New Zealand in the winter months with an ambition to ski some of the country's more hazardous mountains, particularly volcanoes. During his vacation he meets a whole lot of ocker locals and is convinced to participate in the gruelling four hour Ironman endurance competition. With the help of his new friends he trains for the tournament and has a holiday of a lifetime in the process. In 1976 director Mike Firth made a documentary about snow extreme snow skiing called OFF THE EDGE. 11 years later he returned to the subject with this film, which is almost documentary in it's approach. Despite having a narrative all of the actors are pro-skiers, most who were prominent at the time. In between dialogue and comical set-ups the film is mostly comprised of ski footage. Arial shots of mountainous show fields and picturesque landscapes make it more of a travelog as opposed to a movie. I'm not quite sure what the point of it all is. Without the terrible dialogue it's more or less a tourism pitch. The skiing is professional and it's captured wonderfully but none of it really makes sense. I would like to propose a drinking game. Gather with friends and down 1 shot every time this American dickhead yells "ALRIGHT!" as he flies downhill. At once point an avalanche threatens to wipe him out and all I could think was "ALRIGHT!" It's a shame to end the year on a low point like this... but such is life. At least the movie is full of some epic 80s hairstyles, including a most bodacious mullet - the likes of which has never graced the screens before. "You beauty. Rippa!"