Plot: What’s it about?
Dr. Hunter (John Beck) and his daughter Nadia (Julie St. Claire) are on a most important expedition, which takes place in Siberia and involves a most powerful potential discovery. The two seek to locate the Tesla Ray, which has immense power, but was hidden by its inventor after a massive explosion. It wouldn’t be good for the movie’s sake if they didn’t find it, so they do and they plan to transport the small device back to the United States. But of course, things don’t go as smoothly as expected and the plane crashes, leaving the passengers helpless. But the crash was not a natural event, as some terrorists were involved and of course, they want to get their dirty mitts on the Tesla Ray, no matter what it takes. Now it is up to Nadia and special agent Jason Ross (Treat Williams) to keep the issue under control, or else risk extensive destruction.
I always try to look for the positives in every flick I watch, but with Extreme Limits (a.k.a. Crash Point Zero), that was harder than ever. I mean, the movie obviously had a shoestring budget and instead of making do with their resources, the crew opted to use stock footage from other pictures. You’ll see reused sequences from such blockbusters as Cliffhanger and The Long Kiss Goodnight, amid others, all featured without a flinch. And yes, those are the best scenes you’ll find in Extreme Limits and that should set off some alarms. I have a lot of tolerance for low rent, formulaic action movies, but this one is beyond recourse. The original footage is very poor and has little to praise, from the weak writing to the awful casting choices. Treat Williams is decent, but even he struggles with this mess and as for the rest of the cast, they’re not even worth a mention. I had minimal hopes for Extreme Limits from the start, but I had no idea it would turn out this bad. But as usual, Fox supplies a dynamite disc and as such, anyone interested should rent it. Remember however, it sucks and as such, keep those expectations low, very low.
I know Treat Williams has tumbled down the ladder of the fame, but come on, even he doesn’t deserve to be in this movie. Williams must have needed that check pretty bad, as he seems to be somewhere else in his performance. I know actors sometimes take on roles to make ends meet, but Williams must have owed somebody big time, as he had to see what a clunker this was. He by no means puts much effort into his work here, but still emerges as the finest performer, which should tell you something about the other cast members. You can also see Williams in such films as The Substitute 2, The Phantom, The Empire Strikes Back, Hair, The Devil’s Own, The Late Shift, and Deep Rising. The cast also includes Julie St. Claire (Sid and Nancy, Breaking the Silence), Ava Fabian (Active Stealth, Dragnet), and Sean Kanan (The Karate Kid III, Tv’s Wild Palms).
Video: How does it look?
Extreme Limits is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a mixed bag, due to the fact that some of the film is original footage, while other sequences are stock clips from other movies. I found the original footage to look very good, with minimal errors to discuss, but the stock sequences look more worn, not too good. The difference is obvious, but if you can focus on the movie itself, you won’t notice too much. I am stunned Fox went to such extents for this movie’s video transfer, but I think fans will be pleased and that’s good news.
Audio: How does it sound?
Fox has even tacked on a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround option here, although the results are once again, rather mixed. The dialogue seems clear and crisp at all times, with no volume errors to contend with, but that’s where the praise ends. The action sequences have been juiced with outrageous sound effects, ones that seem unnatural and while this means tons of surround presence, the overall impression is not a good one. The atmosphere seems too hollow and false, instead of pulling you into the movie, it reminds you that you’re watching one. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround track, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The main bonus here is an audio commentary with director Jim Wynorski (credited as Jay Andrews), cinematographer Andrea Rossotto, and star Julie St. Claire. This is a brisk, enjoyable session, as the three discuss how rushed and pushed the production was, which resulted in the worthless trash on screen. Wynorski is known for these kind of movies, but usually spices them up more, unlike the dull Extreme Limits. In any event, the trio offer a good session and in the end, it is more entertaining than the movie itself. This disc also includes a selection of still photos, some talent files, and the film’s trailer.