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Hijacking elements from previous high-octane actioners such as Speed, The Rock and any number of reluctant-partner buddy pics, Chill Factor cuts and pastes its way to 105 minutes of derivative thrills. But it's a bumpy, often preposterous ride preoccupied with profanity and intense violence.
Ten years after a covert military operation goes horribly wrong (and a chemical bomb melts the flesh of 18 men like candle wax), Major Brynner, the officer in charge, earns release from prison. He's a new man—a psycho, that is. On his "to do" list: hire band of mercenaries, kill scientist responsible for accident, steal weapon of mass destruction, sell it to highest bidder and dispatch anyone who gets in the way.
A short-order cook and an ice-cream delivery man are thrown into the fray when the mortally wounded scientist hands them his volatile creation and the job of driving it across Montana in sweltering heat to a military base. To complicate matters, the unstable compound must be kept below 50 degrees or it'll wipe out more than a few fly fishermen. The story then cuts to the chase, which continues until the credits roll.
Chill Factor's frequent clichés yield unintentional humor. Brynner, for example, telegraphs his mental imbalance with an icy glare and dispassionate monotone—a laughable caricature. But the film's visceral lust for a body count isn't funny. Shootings. Slashed throats. Stabbings. Grotesquely dissolved flesh. People are also blown up, beaten up and creamed by moving vehicles.
Sure, the heroes nobly risk life and limb to save humanity. Audiences even get a cautionary message about drunk driving. But Chill Factor's bloody violence and incessant profanity will leave families cold.