A global lockdown, danger should we dare to tarry on a park bench; what better time to watch The Cutting Edge, a fictional drama about the getting together of an ice-skating couple? Kate Mosley (Moira Kelly) and Doug Dorsey (forgotten Paul Rudd prototype D.B.Sweeney) have got the chops to compete with the best at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, but do they have that special quality that skating –pros call ‘The Cutting Edge’?
The director is Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky and Hutch fame, and the man who made The Running Man a sci-fi sports-movie-of-sorts for all time. And the writer is Tony Gilroy, son of the great Frank Gilroy and writer of the key Matt Damon-Jason Bourne films, earning his corn, cutting his teeth and selling his soul simultaneously here. British Olympic medal-winner Robin Cousins authenticates the ice-capade moves here. And if Kelly and Sweeney aren’t names to quicken your pulse, let’s throw in veteran British character actor Roy Dotrice as a Ukrainian coach, complete with a impenetrable accent, and the wonderful Terry O’Quinn as Kate’s father, just for laughs.
And this being 1992, let’s have a montage. Or two. Or let’s have eight, because that’s the impressive number that rock the montage-o-meter here. Training montages, skating montages, competition montages, drinking montages, there’s so many needle drops and rhythmic fast cuts it’s a surprise when there’s any synced dialogue at all. And what music! Kate and Doug take to the ice to the banging sounds of Black Box’s Ride on Time and Yello’s The Race, while there’s a copyright defying cover of The B-52’s Love Shack, but by someone called Rosemary Butler, an off-brand brand do-over that melts the mind like battery acid. If that’s not enough to tempt you to gawp at the soundtrack, step forward Joe Cocker to ruin any remaining romantic mood with his accurately titled dirge Feels Like Forever.
Sure, every second of The Cutting Edge feels like forever as Kate and Doug squabble, make-up, fall in love, rinse and repeat, yet there’s no denying that this goofy movie somehow works; it spawned three sequels Going For Gold, Chasing the Dream and Fire and Ice, titles that suggest that, as with this film, no cliché will go unexplored. Except I won’t be watching any of them because my interest in the franchise, as with the Bring It On! films, ends here. Like Sweeney and Kelly, who didn’t return for the sequels, I prefer going out on a high, spinning on the ice like a dervish in day-glo latex , wigging out to Rosemary Butler’s deeply horrid but considerably cheaper-to-use version of Lenny Kravitz’s It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over.