The trailers made it look promising. After a two-minute long look “Blue Crush” should’ve been a cheesy camp-culture-flick in the vein of ’80s classic “The Karate Kid.” Surfing, liberated girl power-based one liners, big honkin’ waves, girls in bikinis and most importantly, P.O.D’s crap-rock masterwork “Alive,” the sum of its parts pointed to a mediocre storyline aided by a handful of incredible pipeline-intense action shots.
Based on Susan Orlean’s magazine article “Surf Girls of Maui,” “Blue Crush” follows a snippet of time in the life of a previously promising surf-princess Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth). Marie’s talents on a board are heralded from the film’s opening, and a handful of flashbacks let viewers in on her accident in the water. Hence, the conflict between nature and Anne Marie is established. Bosworth is believable (certainly not as a surfer, for her stunt double’s slickness in large action sequences is undercut by wobbly-legged attempts at light surfing in the film) but a Ralph Macchio she is not.
Anne Marie’s physical conflict enters when a group of male surfers helmed by her ex-boyfriend (think Johnny, and the rest of Cobra Kai, but instead of mopeds, their chariots of choice are surfboards) and the remedy to that conflict seems to be love NFL Pro Bowl QB Matt Tollman (Matthew Davis).
All of these ingredients are spiced by Anne Marie’s gal-pal Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) the closest thing in the film to a menstruating Mr. Miyagi. Eden incessantly hounds Anne Marie to train. Eden attempts to live vicariously through Anne Marie’s skills. A training involving a jet ski briefly reminds of cinema training montages on beaches past, most notably the scrawny form of Daniel-san at the break of day.
The film climaxes at the Pipeline tournament, and the outcome is as predictable as the rest of the story. Some clues: injury, no Mr. Miyagi rubdown, more surfing. Some of the visuals here are flat-out impressive, posing the question “how’d they film that?” However, despite the beauty of these images, nothing tops the silhouette of a crane kick.