Gerarld Butler plays surfer/mentor in remarkable story but frustratingly inert piece of cinema
Put Gerard Butler in an action movie (300, Law Abiding Citizen, Olympus Has Fallen) or a rom-com (The Bounty Hunter, PS I Love You, The Ugly Truth) and the Scottish star seems perfectly at home. But for some reason he’s got a penchant for sports movies where his gruff bravado seems oddly out of context - having tackled football in The Game of their Lives and the truly awful Playing For Keeps, Butler now tries his hand at surfing in Chasing Mavericks.
Taking its story from the real life friendship between two daredevil surfers, Chasing Mavericks details the mentoring of Jay Moriarty (Jonny Weston) by Frosty Hesson (Butler). The moment Moriarty sees Hesson surfing the legendary surf breaks of Santa Cruz, he becomes determined to master the dangerous waves himself. Despite his initial reluctance, Hesson takes pity on the younger man, and sets a series of tests providing the route to eventual success.
The surfing scenes are impressive, but the distance from which they are filmed rarely places the actors firmly within the action. The result is a frustratingly inert piece of cinema; the story may be remarkable, but the telling is deeply conventional, and despite Butler’s considerable charm and undeniably buff appearance, Chasing Mavericks sinks in choppy water.