Okay. We get it. We've gotten it ever since some douche came up with the term "extreme sports," ever since the X Games and Tony Hawk started shilling their marketable badassery to teenage boys, and ever since anyone on a skateboard/ surfboard/snowboard/BMX bike began using the term "gnarly" (or, Jesus fucking Christ forbid, "gnar-gnar"). We get it: You gentlemen (and, occasionally, you ladies), with your devil-may-care attitudes and your fast-moving boards and wheels, are the very definition of extreme.
Steep is one more fawning sports documentary in the vein of Dogtown and Z-Boys, Riding Giants, Step into Liquid, and First Descent, and while it's not nearly as good as any of those, it still has some stuff to recommend. Namely, the raison d'être of any sports doc: breathtaking footage.
Simultaneously reverential and aggrandizing, Steep covers the history of extreme skiing—in which daredevil skiers attempt to "ski where no one had thought to ski before," from the frighteningly steep mountaintops of France's Chamonix to the hostile north coast of Iceland. "It's not a natural motion for the human body to stand on two planks and slide," one talking head says, and if that's the case, then it's even more unnatural to hire old 'Nam helicopter pilots to drop you off in the wilderness so you can plummet down a mountain, leaping over crevasses and rocks, and it's even less natural—er, even more EXTREME!—to forgo the mountainside altogether, strapping a parachute on your back and skiing off a cliff.
Steep's skiers range from introspective and insightful to one dude who makes The Simpsons' Poochie seem subtle. ("I take the risks 'cause it's the ultimate, man!" is the general gist of things throughout.) Thankfully, the skiing footage is exactly as great as you'd hope—even the film's sappy music and redundant talking heads can't take away from the power of watching these guys spiral through the air or launch themselves off of cliffs, or from seeing avalanches effortlessly flick aside human bodies, or from the simple, astonishing majesty of Steep's immense mountainous landscapes. Where it counts, Steep delivers—too bad it also delivers on a whole bunch of stuff we've already seen before.