A famous diplomat once said, “There’s no such thing as a ‘good war.'” Obviously, this statesman wasn’t familiar with the concept of the X Games. Or extreme sports in general, for that matter, such as those featured in “Beyond the Comfort Zone.” For, if war accomplishes anything, it’s to purge from the masses of blase young men and women the need to plummet down tree-littered vertical mountain faces on skis, surf in twenty-five foot waves or plunge off the edges of waterfalls in kayaks. No doubt, people who’ve been shot at tend to take the gift of life a little more seriously than these slackers.
“Beyond the Comfort Zone” is nothing more — and nothing less — than one of many similar such videos found in, say, a Suncoast store at the mall or playing on ESPN-2 at 3:00 AM on a Saturday morning. Culled from a variety of cinematographers’ footage shot all over the globe, it’s sixty minutes of at times stunning action photography of the above-mentioned sports and others, set to a (thankfully) diverse assortment of instrumental music. Unfortunately, the spectacular visuals are often undermined by utterly nonsensical editing. A brief intro of a snow boarder, for instance…followed by five minutes of surfing off the shores of Maui. Additionally, although the filmmakers appear to be making at least a half-hearted stab at turning this into a documentary, the handful of rambling interviews with spoiled overgrown rich kids still stuck at a “totally awesome!” vocabulary level doesn’t add a whole heck of a lot.
Instead, think of “Beyond…” as less of a documentary or even a music video anthology and as more of a soft-core “teaser” tape. Difference is, instead of featuring scantily clad women frolicking about in lace, lingerie or less, this surprisingly bland video features casting rejects from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” pushing edges that just don’t need to be pushed. This is not to fault the sheer athleticism on display here. Regardless of whether or not skiing off the edge of a cliff is the smartest thing to do, it still looks pretty cool…and, yes, requires a certain amount of skill and ballsiness to pull it off.
Still, listening to these tiresome trust fund babies prattle on about how good it feels to be alive when they reach the bottom of the mountain or wash up safely on shore makes one realize just how trivial some people think life is.
Next good war we get, let’s draft these dimwits first. Then they’ll find out what it’s like to REALLY be outside the comfort zone.