Chill Factor (film)

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Chill Factor
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHugh Johnson
Written by
  • Drew Gitlin
  • Mike Cheda
Produced byJames G. Robinson
CinematographyDavid Gribble
Edited byPamela Power
Music by
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 1, 1999 (1999-09-01)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$34–70 million[1][2]
Box office$11.8 million[2]

Chill Factor is a 1999 American buddy action comedy thriller film directed by cinematographer Hugh Johnson (in his only directorial effort) and starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Skeet Ulrich. The film centers on two unwitting civilians who are forced to protect a deadly chemical weapon from the hands of a group of mercenaries planning to sell the weapon to the highest bidder. The film had negative reviews from film critics, and was one of the biggest box office flops in history, grossing $11.8 million worldwide on an estimated $34–70 million budget.


Ten years after one of Dr. Richard Long's military experiments went wrong and killed eighteen US servicemen and a medical assistant, he has become a recluse in the small town of Jerome, Montana. Long still conducts scientific experiments at the local base, but his only social activity is going fly-fishing with Tim Mason, a cook in the local greasy spoon.

Long is murdered by Colonel Andrew Brynner, a former Army officer who took the blame and served 10 years in prison for Long's experiment. Now a free man with a score to settle with the government, Brynner has assembled a team of mercenaries, and plans to steal and then sell "Elvis"—Long's highly volatile, blue crystal substance—to the highest bidder, thus having his revenge against the government for covering up its existence, and making him a patsy for their handling of the weapon.

Brynner and his team attack the US Army research center where the chemical weapon is being stored, killing some of the Army MP's who were stationed at the base.

Unfortunately for Brynner, Long has already delivered "Elvis" to Tim, along with the directions that the substance must remain below 50 degrees, or it will detonate, causing enormous casualties.

After Mason and Arlo, an ice cream delivery man, have a run-in with Brynner, they set off en route for Fort Magruder, some 90 miles away. The two don't get along with each other—Arlo only agrees to transport the substance in his ice cream truck because Mason held a gun on him—but they find a common bond in trying to avoid Brynner and his team.

With the help of Colonel Leo Vitelli, Arlo and Mason try to survive Brynner's attacks, avoid the local deputy, Pappas, and keep "Elvis" below fifty degrees.

Arlo and Mason finally reach the base, but get ambushed by Brynner and his team who plan on detonating the device in an abandoned weapons test facility. Brynner does not want to leave witnesses, and decides to kill both of them. The military arrives and rescues Arlo and Mason before the device explodes, killing Brynner and his men.

Colonel Vitelli arrives and congratulates them on a job well done, but Arlo and Mason threaten to expose the U.S. government for using unstable nuclear weapons for the past decade. Vitelli decides to pay them both to keep them silent, but also threatens to have them killed if they say a word about what had happened. All three of them leave the area in a helicopter.



Helicopter pilot Ray McCort filming Chill factor

Ulrich[3] and Gooding[4] were both cast in September 1998. Principal photography began on October 5, 1998. Although the film is set in Montana, most of the film was shot in Liberty, South Carolina for the diner sequences. and parts of Northeastern Utah, in particular the Flaming Gorge Dam.[5] Production was completed on December 22, 1998.


Chill Factor was released on September 1, 1999 in 2,558 theatres, and it made $5,810,531 in its opening weekend. The film was a critical and commercial failure at the box office, grossing a total of $11,788,676, well below its estimated $34–70 million budget.


Box office[edit]

Chill Factor had a gross box office of $11.2 million on a budget of $34–70 million.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film generally received negative reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 10% based on 79 reviews, with an average rating of 3.6/10. The site's consensus states: "Claiming it fails on every level, critics had almost nothing good to say about this movie."[6] Metacritic reports a score of 33 out of 100 based on 25 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

Roger Ebert described the film as "cliché" in every sense of the word.[9] Total Film, however, reviewed the film favourably, awarding it 3 stars out of 5.[10]


  1. ^ "Chill Factor". The Numbers. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Chill Factor". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  3. ^ Roman, Monica (September 2, 1998). "Ulrich ready to 'Chill'". Variety. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  4. ^ Karon, Paul (September 14, 1998). "'Chill' in air for Gooding". Variety. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  5. ^ "Chill Factor". IMDb.
  6. ^ "Chill Factor". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  7. ^ "Chill Factor (1999)". Metacritic. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  8. ^ "CinemaScore".
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 30, 1999). "Chill Factor". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  10. ^ "Chill Factor review". Total Film. 23 June 2000 – via Games Radar.

External links[edit]