Okay, I have to admit that I was a little skeptical of another sequel to a movie which I love and watch over and over as though I'm going to find something that I missed the first million times I've seen it. But to be honest, after watching Chasing the Dream right after the Cutting Edge marathon on ABC Family, I have to say that I liked this one a lot better than I did the second one, Going for the Gold.
If you've seen the second one, you might agree with me when I say that it is a lot like the first via plot and character wise. Jackie has a temper similar to her mother from the first, and Alex plays the happy-go-lucky kid who's got nothing to lose much like Doug in the original.
However, in this third one, there seems to me much more going on with the characters - there's more history to them compared to the second movie. Zack is a bit of a risk-taker, which lands to his partners getting hurt, but he learns from his mistakes (meaning that you can't always takes risks all the time) in part because he falls in love. (Remember though he does admit to Celeste his mistake after her accident.)
Alex had the dream as a child, but due to her family's situation was never able to follow through with it, and is now determined to go for it, with or without Zack at her side at times. As a reference to the original, she plays hockey with her older brother and his friends, and unknowningly shows Zack moves from her figure skating days. She does like him from the beginning, but is able to put her feelings aside when he gives her the cold shoulder on the advice of Celeste.
Then there's Jackie, brought back to coach them after Zack's coach leaves to coach his rivals. Let me tell you up front that I didn't like the idea of Jackie being divorced in the film (we think from Alex though it's never said). I have to agree with other fan reviews when I say that it's not doing much to promote marriage (I'm an old fashion traditionalist who feels marriage is forever, I can't help it - sorry), and if the reason for her divorce was simply because they couldn't get the actor back to revive his character, there were other ways around it - not divorce. But underneath the hardcore, champion skating persona from the second film, we do see Jackie producing feelings for her skaters, particularly when Zack nails Alex in the head with his blade (which by the way was interesting, but not quite believable. I'll let it slide though.)
Overall, it was pretty good, and filled with more humor than the second one (though the best section in the second movie was when Jackie and Alex were tied together). The characters evolved during the film when they began to understand what was more important in life. And to be honest, being female, Matt Lanter is much better looking than Ross Thomas from the second sequel. :) Much better than the second one for me, and looking forward to getting it on DVD.