Red Surf

Well, we’re still in George Clooney’s pre-E.R. days, so even if this film has a few more recognisable faces in some of the main roles, the fact that a then-no-name Clooney headlines this film should be some clue of how terrible it is. There’s still a few films to go before I get to From Dusk Til Dawn, the first film on his list that I know I like, so my hopes aren’t high for the films inbetween, but hopefully they’ll be better than this one.

Clooney plays Remar, a surfer/drug smuggler who, along with his small gang of friends, including Doug Savant, attempt to set up one last deal before heading their separate ways and going clean. The problem is, Remar is getting too hooked on the drugs, and his girlfriend Rebecca (Dedee Pfeiffer, Michelle’s younger sister) is pregnant, and doesn’t want him to do anymore deals. Also, one of Remar’s cohorts, True Blue (Philip McKeon, I swear it’s really Stephen Baldwin) has got himself arrested for dealing, and gives the cops the details of the guys they’re doing the deal with, who understandably want Blue dead. 
This film is a mess. There is little to no explanation for most of what happens, characters appear and disappear within the same scene and we’re never really introduced to any of our characters or their lives. The opening sees Remar and Savant’s Attila (also, the names are stupid) involved in a prank that doesn’t really go anywhere, but requires their car to be launched off a cliff and ultimately destroyed, for no real purpose. The supply of cocaine that Remar and the gang sell from appears to be stored in a buoy in the middle of the ocean – though where it comes from we never know. Characters behave stupidly and irrationally, generally at their own risks and with no regard for either themselves or their friends. After his arrest, Blue willingly gives up the names of the dealers, despite knowing that anyone who crosses the guy they are dealing with usually gets fed to the pit of wolves he keeps under a trapdoor in his house.

The dialogue is terrible (“You’re pregnant? That’s bitchin’!”) and the police behave in a manner completely unfitting to the situation, presumably in order to make them appear to be the bad guys over Clooney and his band of miscreants. There was a chuckle when the arresting officer told some criminals that they “have the right to do whatever I damn well tell you to do,” but it was only a small chuckle. I think most of the film’s budget went on skintight dressed (apparently, drugs and pretty girls go together, according to the script), sleeveless t-shirts, leather jackets and a seemingly endless supply of denim, as that’s all anyone wears in this film. Were loose leather waistcoats really ever in fashion? Also, for a film supposedly about surfers, there is only one, very short, scene featuring anyone even in the vicinity of a surfboard, and that’s not until 45 minutes in. 

Clooney has never been less likable than here, where is Remar is a selfish, pig-headed addict who wants to do right by his girl and unborn child, but in the worst way possible. He goes surfing instead of taking Rebecca to a doctor’s appointment, and he doesn’t really have any redeeming qualities, other than not wanting to kill the friend who got him into all this trouble in the first place. When he’s given a way out of this mess by his friends, with no risk and no responsibility put on him, he decides to go ahead and get himself in deep anyway.This results in one of the most poorly shot chases I’ve ever witnessed, involving a speedboat and jet skis in the middle of the night. It’s impossible to make anything or anyone out, and generally sees people spinning around in circles until someone explodes. 

The finale at the dealer’s house is clumsily staged and poorly choreographed, and his wolf pit seems to have magnetic powers, with people being drawn in despite being nowhere near it. If you really need a reason to seek this film out, it’s only passable blessing is that I’ve now seen Gene Simmons kill a man with his bare hands. There is literally no other reason to watch this film.

Choose life 2/10

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