Red Surf (1989)

Directed by H. Gordon Boos

George Clooney was a jobbing actor for a good nine years before he found fame on ER and first received plaudits for his role in ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’. During those hard nine years he took whatever roles he could get, and searched, like many aspiring actors do, for a project that might launch his career and kick down the golden gates and provide him entry into Hollywood’s palatial grounds, where he might one day sit amongst the leading men and the leading ladies of the land. ‘Red Surf’ is one of the early Clooney films, fit for only the diehard film geeks and the menopausal ladies who swoon after Gorgeous George.

Opening on a shady cliff top, the eerie sound of crickets interrupts the silent night. (Remar) Clooney and Doug Savant (Attila) pull up in a clattered American Automobile. Clooney has crazy sideburns and looks like Steven Hyde from ‘That 70s Show’. Savant looks like a beafier version of Murray from ‘Flight of the Conchords’ mixed with a well-fed Layne Staley. Clooney sets up a crazy prank, which is bloomin’ dangerous; he basically drives the stolen car they are both in towards the edge of a cliff and pretends he can’t hit the brakes, forcing him and Savant to bail out at the last moment.

It’s the early nineties and everyone is dressed like they’re attending a Red Hot Chili Peppers gig. The duo, accompanied by more of their bros enters a house party for some boozing and cruising. Clooney gives his blonde girlfriend (played by Michelle Pfeiffer’s sister) a stolen guitar. She’s a little off with him and not thankful for the gift. She’s moody, defensive, something is up.

The guys then head off to meet Doc played by Gene Simmons from KISS; they go to his house to prepare for a job, which involves recovering drugs that had been dropped off in the ocean. Doc is a bit concerned about the job, but Clooney and co press on, they ride bright orange Jet Skis into the night and collect the drugs; narrowly avoiding a Port Police patrol.

After successfully completing the job, the rest of the film involves Clooney and his crew working with a Latino gang lord called Cavalera, and then getting on this firebrand’s wrong side when their friend True Blue provides information to the Police. Also, we find out that Clooney’s girlfriend is pregnant, and she delivers an ultimatum to him to curb his hedonistic lifestyle or she’ll move away to Portland. He responds to this by going on a Tequila binge. Meanwhile Clooney’s long suffering friend Attila has to play peacemaker between the couple.

I was a bit perplexed by the film’s title, given that you only find out that George Clooney was a surfing champion midway through the film, and that most of the action involves our anti-hero’s riding around on Jet Skis. The final few scenes are memorable, not least because Gene Simmons becomes a fearless killing machine (think a tortoise paced version of John Rambo).

‘Red Surf’ is a standard low budget light-Action movie from the nineties, you watch it with low expectations, and rate it depending on how bored you get. It’s watchable, not least because you’re trying to look for early evidence of George Clooney’s acting talent, although in my mind Clooney must’ve been a late bloomer because Savant’s happy-go-lucky performance showed more potential leading man magnetism.

– RJW
6/10

Red Surf on IMDB
Buy Red Surf [1990] [DVD]

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One thought on “Red Surf (1989)

  1. Pingback: Killer Image (1992) |

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