Do you like skiing? Do you like Bros? Then you’ll love Deep Winter! On the other hand, if you like neither of these things then you may have a hard time of sitting through this dull-as-dishwater sports action film. Director Mikey Hilb is obviously a bit of a sports nut – his first feature film was skateboarding flick Dishdogz – and doesn’t seem too bothered about anything but getting some cool shots of people flying off mountains.
Deep Winter centres on a young, hotshot skier, Tyler Crowe (Lively). Crowe is kind of a maverick and messes up some big ski competition, much to the chagrin of his coach (Robert Carradine). YOU’RE OFF THE TEAM, TYLER. That kind of thing. Tyler returns to his roots (or something) to visit his childhood friends: sexy bartender Elisa (Peyton List) and her brother Mark (Lutz), a snowboarder who thinks outside the box and doesn’t take shit from anyone.
Upon his arrival, Tyler discovers that Mark is in the midst of being filmed by Luke Goss, who wants to make the best sports action film of all time (classic Luke Goss). The plan is for Mark to head to Alaska and snowboard down ‘Meteorite’, the ultimate deadly mountain. Soon enough – after some good ol’ reminiscing – Tyler decides to tag along on the trip, although before they can leave, the guys have a mini falling out over the fact that Tyler is ‘nailing’ Elisa (at which point Luke Goss should have stepped in and said, ‘Woah guys. Bros before hoes’).
Anyway, the disagreement is swiftly swept under the carpet and Mark, Tyler, Luke Goss and Dean (Madsen, looking disconcertingly like Matthew Perry) head to Alaska to begin filming. There, Mark and Tyler come to blows again and Tyler goes away, leaving Mark to tackle the treacherous mountain slopes all on his own. Unbeknownst to Tyler, Mark has also stashed his lucky rock in his friend’s boot which probably doesn’t bode well for his upcoming snowboard death-ride. I’ll admit, I’m not entirely sure of the details here, I got distracted by Eric Lively’s Wikipedia page (seriously, who is this guy?).
Michael Madsen’s performance works to reflect the overall snooze-inducing effect of this film. Madsen’s Dean is some kind of world-weary mountain expert and flies around in a helicopter like an airborne Robert Shaw from Jaws, dispensing bits of advice about the power of Mother Nature. But where Shaw seemed like he actually wanted to be on the screen, Madsen looks like he just wants to go to sleep most of the time.
Ultimately, Deep Winter gets boring very quickly. Eric Lively’s lead performance is so bland and forgettable that Hilb might have been better off casting Mark’s pet rock as the lead. Having said that, I’m sure if you’re a ski enthusiast this film is tremendous fun. And, admittedly, it has some absolutely breathtaking visuals for which Hilb deserves credit (although they only confirmed a longstanding suspicion of mine – that skiing is scary and horrible). The really peculiar thing is watching these real, actual human people with easily breakable bodies going down sheer mountainsides and full-on avalanches, and knowing that they’re doing this in the name of Kellan Lutz. Who knows, maybe they’re all die hard Bros fans.