Imagine gliding on air, falling out of trees, off rocks and enjoying the sun.
Would you, with a guarantee of being free? I would.
Read this-- not only is this a movie review but for me it is more personal.
This really is a "do not try this at home" kind of movie.
That being said...
This movie is freaking awesome! Yes, it is and it should be at the top of your "To See" List of this holiday season. The movie has real stunts done the entire time-- less special effects and these extreme athletes really put their lives on the line for the movie and the love of what they do.
You will get to see the sports from the eyes of the extreme athletes themselves-- yes, you read that right. They are filming while they jump, going down the mountain, etc. How amazing to be able to get the privilege to see that as if it were first hand.
An ex-extreme athlete, Johnny Utah, joins the FBI and gets wind of a case that he is the ultimate expert in- extreme sports. How did he end up in the FBI? Why did he quit extreme sports? He lost someone close to him doing it. He is just starting out as a new recruit in the FBI with everything to prove.
He attaches himself to the case with extreme sports in it-- There are criminals that go to break a record. They steal things like money and give them to the poor/less fortunate. Kind of like a new age extreme Robin Hood. They are trying to achieve what is called the eight levels. The reasons they are trying to achieve it are different to each member and each differ from the person who started it. Why release money over Mexico or blow up a mine? Also, as part of the levels as they are trying to give back to the Earth-- something rapidly dying. Can they meet all those eight levels and or give back to the Earth? In many ways, they give back to the Earth- but that is in the eye of the beholder.
Johnny Utah uses his past as an extreme sport stunts person to gain into this tribe of criminals to figure out what they are really up to and what their goals really are. The question of loyalty is always in play because the FBI in America and Britain are always concerned that he can't get his priorities or loyalties straight.
Bodhi who is the leader of the group, sees himself in Utah and knowing he is a cop of some sort, still takes him under his wing and in his words "to save him", to learn to let go. In this, Utah is very challenged in which path he will take.
Another question that can be asked and answered is why- why would they do this?
What is the point of what they are doing and in some ways do they have a point?
A point in doing crime, absolutely not. In giving oneself back to the Earth, absolutely.
They travel around the world (and this really is filmed in America, Europe, Asia and South America) doing very dangerous stunts, in which the top extreme sports athletes in their fields from around the world perform, including extreme wave surfing, wing suit flying, snowboarding, high speed motor cross, and free rock climbing.
A lot of these questions are those that you ask yourself as you reflect and look internally- either at the movie or to answer what you can't or may not understand. Of course, in doing so, you are also forced to look internally at yourself.
This movie review is VERY bittersweet to me. So much so I am focusing here on the movie as much I can here and then below (and on a more dedicated post) about Jhonny Florez, one of the stunts people. Someone who is a real life base jumper who flies on the wings of dreams. Now, literally.
This movie, unlike the first one to my understanding, has the stunts done in real life by real life extremists. One of those awesome people is someone who was married to a friend of mine from high school. He lost his life...at the same time, and very ironic timing. It makes it really all the more potent and driving home the message of the movie. Which is literally about one's breaking point.
Not only did he do what he loved but he was very good at it. From what people have said, he was a stickler for safety but a heart for the air. He was referred to by many around the world as "Hombre Pajaro" or "Bird Man" because he fell in love with birds and what they experience.
I will admit full heartedly it that writing this has been hard for different reasons and I was probably the only person who cried... I don't cry at movies. I don't think I would have cried, in fact, I know I would not have had it not been for the connection.
He died doing what he loved and he really showed it off in this movie.
In a really odd sort of way, it has me reflecting. Do we live our lives in trying to gain status and what we think others would think, just like Johnny did with becoming an FBI agent or do we go where our hearts tell us to go?
Here is the trailer for the movie + some of Jhonny's posts both in Switzerland and some tips on base jumping.
Live life to the Fullest! That is what you can take away from it.