The 1992 figure skating romance The Cutting Edge is a subpar movie that has recently been reissued on Blu-ray. Apparently the movie has quite a little cult following, probably because there are a lot of figure-skating fans and relatively few figure-skating movies. One of its problems, however, is a general lack of exciting ice-skating footage. Another of its problems is unconvincing acting. The reliance on montage sequences backed by blaring, dated pop music doesn’t help matters.
Moira Kelly plays the supremely unlikable “ice queen” (and insufferable bitch) Kate Moseley. Having botched a bid for Olympic gold in 1988, Kate plows through a series of potential partners while training for another shot in 1992. No one wants to work with her. Enter Doug Dorsey, a hockey player forced into early retirement due to injury. Doug is played by charisma-free D.B. Sweeney (think of a charmless, humorless Paul Rudd). Doug decides figure skating is the only way he can stay on the ice after vision problems ended his career. Improbably, Kate’s Russian coach Anton (Roy Dotrice) believes Kate and Doug have a shot at making a winning pair.
Not only are the performances by Kelly and Sweeney stiff, they are saddled with clumsy, forced dialogue. Screenwriter Tony Gilroy improved greatly after this, his first produced screenplay. He hit paydirt more than decade later as co-writer of the Bourne series (he’s directing the next installment). But in ’92, Gilroy’s ear for dialogue and sense of storytelling had yet to develop. Of course, it’s always easy to blame the writer. I don’t know who made the call to include endless ‘80s-style music video training montages. These are a poor substitution for character and plot development.
The central question of The Cutting Edge is whether or not these two skaters from different worlds will fall in love despite their differences. Second to that is whether or not they will put together a decent skating routine. No spoilers here, but I will say there are few surprises. A third act twist adds a bit of depth to Kate, but it’s too little too late to make things interesting. As previously stated, director Paul Michael Glaser (who also helmed the Shaquille O’Neal epic Kazaam) and cinematographer Elliot Davis do not capture the beauty and artistry of figure skating. The skating scenes are an awkward combination of brief body-double wide shots, close-ups of the lead actors, and annoying strobe-like effects applied to many shots.
The Cutting Edge is among the least remarkable Blu-ray presentations I’ve seen. The 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encode is framed at 1.85:1. Grain is prominent throughout most of the movie, though it’s never really distracting. Colors are muted, giving the movie a kind of washed-out look, though this may have been inherent in the original cinematography. Skin tones are generally wan. Audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Again, this is unremarkable. The dialogue is clear and intelligible. The mostly ugly soundtrack of crappy early-‘90s pop blares loud and clear, without distortion. Everything about the audio/visual presentation is acceptable.
No new supplemental features have been produced for the Blu-ray edition of The Cutting Edge. There is a theatrical trailer and, carried over from a previous DVD release, a brief featurette consisting of retrospective interviews with Kelly and Sweeney. Oddly, there is no menu page for this Blu-ray. The movie simply begins playing after the disc loads. Only a pop-up menu during playback offers options for accessing extras.