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Blue Crush 2
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by brianorndorf

"Another Cruel Summer"
1 stars

Has it really been nearly a decade since “Blue Crush” paddled into theaters? The 2002 film was a modest success, but quickly established an awkward place as a feminist anthem, drinking up the gorgeous beaches and waves of Hawaii. Never mind the fact that director John Stockwell invested more in leering than liberation, the reputation stuck. An eternity later, Universal has revived the “Blue Crush” corpse with a DTV sequel, ditching Hawaii for the budget landscape of South Africa, while losing the original’s lascivious behavior to tinker with Disney Channel dramatics and candied characterization.

Frustrated with her privileged life in California, Dana (Sasha Jackson) has decided to run away to South Africa to find her late mother’s spirit on the waves, embarking on a surfing trip to a foreign land. There she meets Pushy (Elizabeth Mathis), a like-minded surfing soul who offers the brash blonde a place to stay when her belongings are stolen. Greeted by a community of surfers and beach bums, Dana finds love with singer/animal sanctuary volunteer Tim (Ben Milliken), rubs rival Tara (Sharni Vinson) the wrong way, and is targeted as an object of lust by smoothie shop owner Grant (Chris Fisher). With her water skills tested and her heart aching, Dana finds the trip refreshing her soul, while her nosy behavior uncovers a few ugly secrets held by the locals.

I wouldn’t suggest that “Blue Crush” was a particularly gritty motion picture, but it’s practically a Sidney Lumet film compared to this plastic sequel. Director Mike Elliot (“Beethoven’s Big Break”) and screenwriter Randall McCormick (“The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior”) dial down the sexuality and struggle of burgeoning maturity here, instead taking a scenic route of mild adventuring, following Dana as she’s thrust into an alien land on the hunt for her heart, making friends and enemies as she works out her grief on the waves. Well, sometimes on the waves.

“Blue Crush 2” doesn’t actually feature an overwhelming amount of surfing footage, preferring to stick with painful melodramatic detours involving Tara’s disapproval, Pushy’s surfing fears, and Dana’s father, who’s come to South Africa to find his wayward daughter. Did I mention the subplot involving elephant poaching? Because that’s story every surfing feature needs to cover. “Blue Crush 2” is packed with plot, unnecessarily padding the run time to resemble a full cinematic meal. Simplicity is lost, along with any entertainment value, as Elliot labors over moronic conflicts while supplying disappointingly routine surfing footage. South Africa is a beautiful land, yet “Blue Crush 2” would rather spend time on drably scripted clichés than dig into a thrilling outdoor quest.

Also not helping the cause are the performances, which play either too earnest or too obnoxious. Lead Jackson is a particular sore spot, portraying Dana as an ugly American, happily stomping all over South Africa without much care for native traditions. Jackson is shrill and her accent is unconvincing, which doesn’t do the film’s struggle to snatch a durable emotional arc any favors.

“Blue Crush 2” relies on pretty people and golden locations to appeal, but take those elements away and what’s left is a shallow, protracted run of banality. Considering the rotten quality of the original film, it seems all the sequel had to do was show up and surf. Instead, we get elephant poaching and endless looks of pinched bewilderment from Jackson. I’ve never missed John Stockwell more.

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originally posted: 09/12/11 18:54:54
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USA
  N/A (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Jun-2011

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Mike Elliot

Written by
  Randall McCormick

Cast
  Shasha Jackson
  Sharni Vinson
  Elizabeth Mathis
  Chris Fisher



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