*. Shouldn’t this movie have been a lot more fun?
*. The suits at the FBI express some bafflement at the motives of Team Extreme, but Utah thinks he has them pegged as hipsters seeking Nirvana. Hey, with a gang leader named Bodhi and a groupie chick named Samsara, what else? Bodhi, however, says they’re not seeking personal spiritual enlightenment so much as attempting to raise global consciousness about the fate of the planet while looking to honour Mother Earth at the same time. Or something like that.
*. But that’s all just a bunch of New Age blather. What the gang are really driven toward is death. A beautiful death, and a nice send-off too, with a promise to reunite in the afterlife. And, especially seeing as how young they all are, isn’t that a depressing philosophy? They appear, at least to me, to have sort of given up on life. This struck me as a very different note than was struck in the 1991 original, where Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) wants to affirm the value of life and the human spirit.
*. What would have happened if they’d completed the Ozaki 8 anyway? Would they have retired? Gone back to the top of the list? And since the Ozaki 8 seem to be subjectively determined and contingent on various factors, what kind of an achievement is it? It’s not like climbing the highest peaks on all seven continents or anything.
*. My goodness this script is bad. I mean, you knew going in that it would just be a line to hang the epic stunt sequences on, but it’s much worse than that. I was especially confused as to why the gang was “giving back” to the poor while being financed by such an obvious douche-bag (and probably criminal) 1-percenter like Al Fariq. How did they square that?
*. As we get the usual montage of Johnny piecing together where the gang is going to strike next I was wondering what he was going to come up with and how he was going to get there. Well, you see, the first six items on the list “all traveled in one direction: down,” so the next ordeal should involve fighting against gravity. That means going up. That can only mean . . . free solo rock climbing. And that means . . . Angel Falls, Venezuela. Damn, the kid’s good!
*. Then there is the dialogue. “We can only be responsible for own path, brother.” “Ideas can be powerful.” “That’s the difference between us. All you see is lines. We see the truth.” And etc. A little of this might have gone a long way, but there is a lot of it so it seems to stretch to the ends of the earth.
*. The only moment I really enjoyed was their cutting open the bales of cash mid-air and seeing the greenbacks explode all over creation. Something symbolic there. Almost meta, brother.
*. I’ll admit, I was laughing out loud at (not with) a lot of it. Starting with the opening scene and Jeff falling to his death, which I don’t think was supposed to be funny. Ditto for those colourful flying-squirrel suits. None of it made any sense, or really worked as any kind of update on the original. Instead of surfer dudes we now have tattooed Extreme Sports Poly-Athletes and eco-warriors undermining capitalism via heavily-sponsored stunts set in the world’s most gorgeous locations. Despite the ad campaign touting how real these stunts were, it all has the feel of something as phoney as that giant wave at the end, which comes as the ironic revenge of Mother Earth upon her staunchest defender, reuniting him at last with the Many and the One. It’s a beautiful line, man. The dude abides.