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Step Into Liquid

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Step Into Liquid

Starring: Rochelle Ballard, Shawn Barron
Director: Dana Brown
Rated: NR
RunTime: 87 Minutes
Release Date: August 2003
Genres: Documentary, Sports

*Also starring: Layne Beachley, Jesse Brad Billauer, Taj Burrow, Ken Collins, Darrick Doerner

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

With summer quickly turning into a memory, wouldn't it be fun to dive back into the surf? Writer/director/editor Dana Brown extends that invitation, following in the footsteps of his father, Bruce Brown, who made "The Endless Summer" (1966), followed by "The Endless Summer II" (1994). According to the Browns: "It's not a lifestyle, it's a life."

In this film, you're transported into the spectacular sport of surfing. From a 21st century viewpoint, there are not only more women involved but surfing's gone mainstream. "You can actually make a living being a surfer these days because of the sponsorship," Brown says. "The abilities of surfers have changed, the equipment has changed - but the spirit hasn't changed."

While you expect to find sensational surfing in Hawaii, Australia and along the California coast, freewheeling breaker-chasers get "stoked" even in the most unlikely places. There are Texans who get their thrills following in the three-mile wakes of supertankers in the Gulf of Mexico and a rowdy group who relish riding the modest swells of Lake Michigan. There's a devotee who hasn't missed a day in the ocean in 27 years and a paralyzed fellow who broke his back in a wipeout but is still able to return to the water with the help of his loyal surfing buddies. In Ireland, the Malloy brothers bring Catholic and Protestant youngsters together on surf boards.

Plus there's the new twist of tow-in surfing, which allows surfers catch monster waves. Using multiple cameras, helicopters and hot-shot surf-cam operators, John-Paul Beeghly's cinematography is so spectacular that you can't help feeling exhilarated. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Step Into Liquid" is a glorious, rapturous, celebratory 9. It's a must-sea.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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