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chill factor is a carbon copy of speed with one notable exception : instead of a speeding bus , we now have an ice cream truck .
the truck is driven by arlo ( cuba gooding jr . ) and mason ( skeet ulrich ) , who have been instructed by a dying scientist to transport a deadly chemical weapon to a military base by the name of fort mcgruder .
this particular weapon ( nicknamed `elvis' ) must be kept below a temperature of 50 degrees , or else the shockwave will goo-iffy everything in a mile radius .
that would be pretty nasty .
the power of elvis is revealed in the opening scene , as dr . richard long ( david paymer ) conducts a test on an isolated tropical island .
long accidentally melts 18 soldiers and defoliates virtually the entire island , due to an enormously miscalculated safety distance .
the commanding officer , general brynner ( peter firth ) , is sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of his troops .
upon his release , the general is intent on tracking the good doctor down , snatching elvis , and selling the weapon to the highest international bidder .
protecting the fate of the world is a drifting hamburger flipper ( ulrich ) and a feisty ice cream delivery man ( gooding jr . ) , who must elude brynner's men and get elvis to safety at fort mcgruder .
all the while , of course , they must keep the weapon below 50 degrees .
this proves to be tricky .
among the wild adventures arlo and mason partake in is a trip down a tree-covered mountainside in a boat , and a fist fight on top of a moving vehicle .
they also crack a few dozen witty retorts that we are supposed to find amusing .
to put it simply , i'll use a clever pun : chill factor should be put on ice .
director hugh johnson has mixed elements from speed , broken arrow and the lethal weapon series to create a lifelessly bland cocktail of a chase movie .
when there is some occasional action , the audience seems oddly detached from it .
perhaps that's because we've already waded through a pool of clich ? s and boring dialogue ; all material that's been used before , and with a lot more spice .
take the villains , for example .
they are typical stereotypes of every terrorist that has ever walked the silver screen .
they speak lines that have been recycled profusely from one movie to the next , divulge important plot details while holding their enemies at gunpoint , and act in very predictable ways .
the tag-team of gooding jr . and ulrich sounds much more exciting than it is .
frankly , i'm not sure i can accept cuba as an ice cream man .
i suppose it's better than him dressed like a giant hot dog , selling jumbo frankfurters on a street corner .
gooding displays one single emotion in this movie , which is frequently on display in lines like `i'm gonna get on yo ass like last year's underwear ! ' and the incessant sputtering of `oh , sh * t ! '
this is virtually the same character he played in jerry maguire and as good as it gets .
but where gooding was once an exciting actor , he now seems dull and endlessly monotonous .
at least he's a bit more captivating than ulrich , who has all the film's worst dialogue , but does nothing noticeable to enliven his character .
the supporting cast , which includes every personality you expect to pop up , is also wasted .
to be fair , there are a few brief moments of serviceable action .
and i did chuckle a few times .
one example is when ulrich ( an employee at `darlene's diner' ) is at the counter when brynner walks through the door .
`you own this place ? '
the general asks .
`yeah , ' ulrich says .
`they call me darlene . '
these little tidbits of humor are ( mainly ) welcome in this weak , disappointing wreckage of an action film .
as a speed clone , it could have benefited from a lot more suspense and perhaps ( god forbid ) even some decent writing .
sadly , i walked away from chill factor only wondering how much fun it could have been .
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