A decent time-passer and not a lot more.
by Martin Hafer
Iceman begins with a ship carrying what looks like three cryogenic tubes. Then, in a flashback, a Chinese officer is being accused of conspiring with the dreaded Japanese pirates back in the 17th century. However, when the Emperor of China’s men try to apprehend him, his is transported to the present day Hong Kong–and you realize he’s one of the guys in the cryo tubes. Here in the 21st century, he’s out-of-place but also amazingly clever and helpful. I liked this part of the film. Soon, however, he’s caught up in all sorts of intrigues and it all has to do with the Golden Wheel of Time and the god Shiva’s penis (I am serious about this last part) and a bazillion cops trying to kill him. Can this visitor from the past take on a huge army of cops and win?
When Iceman began, it felt a lot like I’d seen this sort of plot in another film. The French film Les Visiteurs (remade in the US as Just Visiting) is a silly film where the hero is magically transported many centuries into the future. Here in the present, the knight is completely out of his element and is a bumbler. The film is played strictly for laughs. Here with Iceman, however, when the soldier is magically transported into the future, he inexplicably is like superman! Not only does he possess nearly god-like fighting and intellectual powers at times, but he also seems to magically understand technology–and he inexplicably uses the internet and destroys surveillance cameras! To me, none of this really made a lot of sense.
How could a man from centuries before know how to do an internet search or understand what cameras are?! For me, this was a big problem with Iceman–it just didn’t make a lot of sense. If a man is somehow transported to today from the distant past, the comical way Les Visiteurs handled it seems much, much more likely–with the guy drinking from toilets and getting into one problem after another. Instead, it goes from being a bit charming to being very confusing and very violent. Then, it becomes a huge, explosive finale where there are tons of explosions and violence and mindless mayhem. The charm just doesn’t last very long.
So is it worth seeing? Well, if you have nothing better to do…sure. But as I mentioned above, quite a bit about the hero just didn’t make a lot of sense in Iceman. Instead, while I never loved Les Visiteurs, I’d recommend you see it over Iceman.