Black Ice (1992) Poster


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A Low Budget Movie With a Screenplay Full of Flaws, But Supported by a Great Cast and the Sexy Joanna Pacula
Claudio Carvalho2 December 2003
Ben Shorr (Michael Nouri) is a taxi driver full of debts and aspiring writer. One day, he drives the gorgeous Vanessa (Joanna Pacula), who is the lover of the imminent senator Eric Weaver (Arne Olsen), home. Vanessa and Eric have a serious argument; they fight and she accidentally kills him. Vanessa is indeed an agent from the government, with a mission of get inside information and compromise the future senator with her agency. Quinn (Michel Ironside), a government killer working for the same agency, is in charge of eliminating her. Vanessa hires Ben, trying to go to Seattle and leave USA through her contacts in that area. However Quinn is hunting them down.

"Black Ice" is not a bad movie, but gives the sensation that something is missing in the screenplay and the ambiguous conclusion. It is a low budget movie, but Joanna Pacula, Michael Nouri and Michael Ironside are great actors and have good performances. Joanna Pacula's character is very beautiful, sexy and erotic. Michael Nouri's character is nasty and is not charismatic; therefore it is very difficult for the viewer identify with Ben as the 'hero' of the plot, who will end the story with the Vanessa. And Michael Ironside performs the role he does better, a maniac killer. The plot has many flaws: for example, there are shootings in many places and no police arrives. In many movies, the police arrive instantaneously, but not in this one. maybe there was no budget to complement of the cast. "Black Ice" would be a good movie with some improvement in the screenplay. But anyway, it entertains, and it is worthwhile seeing Joanna Pacula in some sexy scenes. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Paix√£o Assassina" ("Assassin Passion")

Note: On 02 January 2016 I saw this film again.
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Strong Performances overcome weak script.
FEF31211 October 1999
Strong performances from Joanna Pacula, Michael Nouri, and Michael Ironside overcome a weak script. Other pluses are the beautifully photographed winter scenery, and the haunting score from Amin Bhatia. There is a lack of suspense in this movie, but the performances of the three leads held my attention.
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Could have been better.
rhoughton28 October 2000
Good and strong performances from the three leads, holds up a rather weak script. This is certainly no thriller, but more like a chase movie. The fanciful plot, or lack of it, needed a bit more construction on the bones. It just could have been a lot better.
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A perfectly enjoyable chase thriller
Woodyanders26 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Seductive undercover FBI agent Vanessa (well played by the strikingly lovely, sultry, dark-haired knockout Joanna Pacula) is having an affair with an adulterous married up and coming politician. The sleazy politico wants to terminate the relationship. Vanessa and Hiz Honor the scumbag have a fight, which accidentally results in the jerk's untimely demise. Vanessa hires the chatty, gregarious Ben (a solid and charming performance by Michael Nouri), a down on his luck aspiring novelist who just barely ekes out a living as a cab driver, to haul her to Seattle. Vanessa offers Ben five grand and since Ben's up to his eyeballs in debt he gladly obliges. Naturally, there's a serious glitch: Vanessa's shady, ruthless superior Quinn (a typically steely and redoubtable turn by the always commanding Michael Ironside) doggedly pursues the pair with the sole malevolent intent of killing them both.

Neill Fearnley's sturdy, capable direction ensures that "Black Ice" is a perfectly enjoyable and entertaining chase thriller. The pacing drags at first, but thankfully picks up speed and momentum once Quinn decides to give chase, with expertly sustained tension and the taut, compelling narrative successfully holding the viewer's interest throughout. Moreover, the chemistry between Pacula and Nouri is warm, funny and appealing, scoring points with some fine, witty dialogue and several cool quirky touches of offbeat humor. Technically, the film's up to par: David Geddes' crisp, smooth cinematography and Amin Bhatia's moody, bluesy, liberally laced with scintillating saxophone score are both quite tasty. Mickey Jones cameos as Nouri's cranky foul-mouthed boss; he gets wasted by Ironside. (Jones and Ironside previously acted together on the short-lived "V" TV series.) Although nothing truly special, this admittedly modest little item still cuts it as a nicely satisfying and proficiently executed diversion.
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The Secret Agent, Her Lover, Her Boss and her Taxi Driver!
Grekel Zender17 April 1999
Considering this is supposed to be something of an intriguing mystery thriller, it raises little in the way of suspense. So, it's a little surprising that the film has the capacity to hold your interest until the end, which is disappointedly bland.

Anyway, the film stars Joanna Pacula as an undercover agent of some sort, who contrives to accidentally kill her target after having sex with him. Hitching a ride in Nick Mancuso's taxi, she arrives at the airport only to find her boss (Michael Ironside) has received orders to kill her, as to leave no trace of the crime.

This TV movie hangs on the fact that Mancuso doesn't know who or what Pacula is until late on, although the viewer knows fairly quickly. Still, performances are more than adequate and Ironside gets to repeat his cold-hearted bad guy routine once again.
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A nevermind-movie
Vomitron_G8 April 2011
"A Passion For Murder" (or "Black Ice", as it is listed on here) is pretty much a neo-noir road-movie, which means it should add up to something like a mystery thriller. But it doesn't. Throughout the film there's no suspense to speak of and the plot is hardly anything intriguing. The film just hums along without many problems, really, and as mentioned before, Michael Nouri, Joanna Pacula & Michael Ironside manage to carry everything just fine with their three leading performances.

Nouri plays Ben Shorr, a cab driver/aspiring writer. One night he picks up Vanessa (Joanna Pacula) who's gotten herself into a heap of trouble, demanding that Shorr should drive her all the way from Detroit to Seattle. All this while being chased by the cold-blooded Quinn (Michael Ironside), who has a score of his own to settle with Vanessa.

Ms. Pacula brings a lot of sex appeal to the table (and gets very naked early on in the film, during an extended sex scene). Nouri is convincing enough and Ironside is always entertaining as the bad guy. The rest of the supporting cast gives inferior performances. Only Mickey Jones is worth mentioning, as the taxi company owner.

In the end, the climax boils down to a very dull shoot-out between the threesome. Something you can predict from the moment their chase begins. People say they're FBI or CIA, wave a badge and all, but in the end, who cares? "A Passion For Murder" is nothing special, but at the end of the ride I can't bring myself to flunk this little movie. It's not a badly made film or anything and it's an okay form of distraction from every day life for 90 minutes long. The main purpose of most pulp fiction, anyway.
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Black Ice is just a bit too bland to warrant a screaming recommendation.
Comeuppance Reviews29 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Ben Shorr (Nouri) is a destitute cab driver with plenty of debts. He's an aspiring author eking out a living. One night, Vanessa (Pacula) gets in his cab. Due to some political intrigue, she's on the run from the murderous Quinn (Ironside). She tells Ben to drive her from Detroit to Seattle using "only the back roads" and she'll give him thousands of dollars for his effort. Naturally, the worldly Belgian woman and the low-class shmoe forge an uneasy relationship, while dodging Quinn and getting into a few scrapes. Will they make it? Equal parts 90's Skinemax "erotic thriller" and supposed "neo-noir", seemingly very influenced by the show Taxicab Confessions, Black Ice is serviceable, but nothing more. Its look screams "CANADA!" even though the plot takes great pains to prove otherwise. (It was, indeed, shot in Canada).

Michael Nouri, sporting some utterly ridiculous long hair, is not particularly likable as the motormouthed Ben. That's an impediment to the movie. However, he does put in an energetic performance, much more so than he did in Overkill (1996). We also felt Michael Ontkean could have played this role. Interestingly, there's a shot early on in the film of Nouri at a typewriter, with a rotary dial phone and a cigarette. Those three things alone would not be seen in a film today, much less all together. Strictly for preservation reasons alone, we felt that was the best shot of the movie.

Michael Ironside does what he does best - be sinister. He plays almost the exact same role here as he does in Watchers. Joanna Pacula provides the eye candy, and we can certainly sympathize with her having to put up with Ben, who frankly can get kind of annoying.

Aside from the prerequisite barfight, there isn't a lot of action. Not that there's necessarily supposed to be in a movie like this - but it certainly would have picked things up more. Where some scenes are needlessly talky, they could have put in an action scene of some kind. Sadly, they did not choose that route.

While it's nice to see the three leads doing their thing, Black Ice is just a bit too bland to warrant a screaming recommendation.

NOTE: The VHS was released in both a rated and unrated version.

For more action insanity, check out:
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ZBGirl24 August 1999
I watched this movie just a little while ago and I found that this movie was terrible! It moved very slowly and was hardly entertaining!

Sorry for all those that liked it.... this is only my opinion!
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Aspires to being really good.
bgc-430 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Black Ice (the original title) aspires to being a really good B movie. It is basically a film noir and was shot mostly at night. I found it quite enjoyable. There are some plot continuity problems with characters moving 1500 miles in a few hours in a car.

Ironside plays his character perfectly and has the usual terminator capability to find his targets when there is no discernible way that he could have done so. The most egregious example of this is when Pacula and Nouri buy a used car in the middle of nowhere and Ironside winds up on the car lot nearly immediately after they leave.

Pacula is perfect. Nouri less so. As the film was shot in the current time about 1991 it's now retro. I like it a lot.
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A missed opportunity made decent by Vanessa
AStormOfSwords1319 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
OnDemand can have some well-known choices and some not so much. This movie falls into the second category for sure. The title Black Ice seemed interesting enough as a name, and the premise drew me in, so here I am watching this movie. I cannot say it was the best movie ever, but it certainly isn't the worst either.

The movie is about a girl from Detroit named Vanessa who is on the run from a villainous FBI agent. This idea has been done real well before. Why not now? Sure, Detroit to Seattle seems random, but for a road trip, it is nothing to take lightly. Trust me, this is coming from a guy who has been on a few road trips myself.

The plot definitely has its ups and downs. On the bad side, this feels way too abrupt to really care for anyone too much and the final act did seem to get tiresome. This is the biggest problem this movie has and I feel like they missed an opportunity to make a great, risky movie. However, the plot is also believable even if the convenience of some of the happenings in the plot does tend to be grating when it gets repetitive. Also, it doesn't try to be anything more than what it is, but it also does not sugarcoat itself either and can get ballsy. There were times when I asked if it explained what it was trying to do, but then I remembered when the thing I got lost on was explained and carried on with the movie, so to say this movie doesn't explain anything is simply not true because there is actually quite a bit explained here for a movie rated a 4.9/10 overall on IMDb.

Ben is not someone who is well-fleshed and so I did not care for his character at all, but Vanessa I actually did feel for, especially when considering why it is she ended up being on the run. Throughout the movie then, I am rooting for Vanessa, if only because she was the only person to root for. There weren't too many characters in the movie though, so that does in a way make up for lack of likable characters. The villain after her was a worthwhile villain, so the movie was kept interesting enough to watch start to finish.

Spoiler alert: there are a few sex scenes in the movie. Through Vanessa's body, it convinced me how beautiful she is, so it was enough to feel erotic, but past that, these could have and should have been longer and shown more so that it wasn't so watered-down. Being a film not well-known, this could have benefited from a then-X rating instead of only an R.

This film made me feel a lot of things, and while not all of them are good, the good feelings coming out of it do make the movie worthwhile, even for something that is absolutely a one-time showing. Most of the good that came out of the film was definitely from Vanessa, and since she is the main character, that works well enough for me.

Do I recommend this? Sure, if you want to pass some time, but don't expect anything groundbreaking. If you have Xfinity OnDemand, you have plenty of time to watch this. It doesn't expire away until January 31st, 2017.
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