The Cutting Edge

(1992) * 1/2 Pg
101 min. MGM. Director: Paul Michael Glaser. Cast: D.B. Sweeney, Moira Kelly, Roy Dotrice, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Hogan.

/content/films/4234/1.jpgHow does the saying go? Nothing succeeds like success? In 2011, it feels a bit late to complain about 1992's The Cutting Edge. Yes, it's the big-screen equivalent of a pandering YA romance novel, but the thing obviously made back its humble budget and then some, partly during its initial release and then in an unstoppable afterlife —on TV and home video—that's built itself into a franchise: see also The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold (2006), The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream (2008), and The Cutting Edge: Fire & Ice (2010). And would you believe "the ultimate love/skate relationship" was penned by Tony Gilroy (the Bourne films and Michael Clayton), now one of Hollywood's most in-demand scribes?

So The Cutting Edge tells the tale of hockey player Doug Dorsey (D.B. Sweeney), who develops anger issues when an eye injury ends his career. Meanwhile, "rich bitch" figure skater Kate Moseley (Moira Kelly) is in the market for a partner for her next Winter Olympics bid. Having exhausted all other options, her coach Anton Pamchenko (Roy Dotrice of Game of Thrones) becomes convinced that Doug is the man for the job, if only he can convince Doug, Kate, and her father (Terry O'Quinn of Lost). Those monkeys trying to type up Hamlet must've come up with this one an hour into their first day (it's called the "infinite monkey theorem": Google it).

Do I have to tell you that Kate sticks her nose in the stratosphere, Doug grumbles and storms, and the Russian coach demands that they work together until they go all goo-goo eyed for each other? Along the way, Kate develops a respect for hockey, Doug embraces figure skating, and Dotrice wonders, "I survived a German POW camp for this?" Oh, and the whole shebang is directed by "Starsky" (Paul M. Glaser). I know that's not fair, but neither was the Shaquille O'Neill genie movie Kazaam (Google it).

But as I say, The Cutting Edge is critic-proof at this point, and remains a sacred cow for girls with teenybopper posters on their walls (or in storage). It's the perfect fantasy of an American princess who learns to live amongst the proles while she teaches a sexy roughneck a little culture (and to love her, goshdarn it!). Opposites do attract, and they can do it in sequins, can't they? The only thing that could make The Cutting Edge more absurd would be if the final competition revolved around a potentially deadly, possibly illegal move called the Pamchenko Twist. Wait, it does? Never mind.

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Aspect ratios: 1.85:1

Number of discs: 1

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Street date: 1/11/2011

Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

MGM brings home video cash cow The Cutting Edge to Blu-ray in a hi-def transfer that retains the film's natural look with intact grain and true colors. The image runs a bit on the soft side, but there's as much detail here as anyone should ever expect to see from this movie, and black level and contrast are certainly decent. Also true to the film's original exhibition is the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, which works just fine at conveying clear dialogue and a bit of aural excitement with sound effects and music.

Bonus features are slim, but fans will eat up every minute of the 2006 retrospective featurette "The Cutting Edge: Reflections from the Ice" (10:53, SD). Given that someone went to the trouble to put this together, it's not clear why it isn't a bit longer, but it does include entertaining remembrances from D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly. Also on hand is the film's "Trailer" (2:04, SD).

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

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