It is always hard to make a follow up. This one is no different. It has to follow up a several very successful DVDs.
The intro is delicious! Action, pumping hard music, fast cutting, close-ups, underwater footage, comments, introducing the group members and rough effects, just what we are used to from AEG Media. It promises well for the next hour, which is introduced by an older guy saying "We might be the last generation to experience this..."
As the viewer we follow the preparation for the a steelhead trip to BC. How the participants pack, read maps and get everything (a lot!) on the 4x4s. Almost everything is being filmed from at least two angles and the cutting between the cameras works well. The clips are very short and you never get bored. You always have something new to look at and again the fast pace is accompanied by some heavy drums and guitars, just to keep you on the beat. We have pros behind everything here, and the movie in general is a pleasure for the eye and your ears.
The story line and variation, however, misses some elements.
On the border to Canada the trip takes and unexpected turn. A "super bad ass cop" won't let Chris Owens enter Canada. It is a fun scene, but takes up too much time.
The movie goes on and you see the guys casting and setting up the camps while going down the river. After 10 days they still haven't had a take.
Of course, that interferes with the planned action recordings, but I still miss some hi-speed fly tying sequences or a camera at the tip of the raft and with that some river rafting drama.
A great sequence is where one of the gang members is learning the Spey cast. We have all been in the situation where nothing succeeds and you get support and directions from your friends. You see the improvement over time and when they after two weeks, they finally hit a steelhead run the casting training proofs it's value and we get some extremely well-composed pictures smacked right on the 40" flat screen.
It all ends of a sudden when snow, and heavy rain kills the fishing and the the sleeping bags becomes glued to the bodies. The guys stick to the fire and the coffee mugs (we would probably all do that). Not much action but still a cozy and authentic atmosphere.
The group continues downstream and run out of food--and everything else more or less. They try to make "a survival in nature" scene showing them collecting clams and making a crab cage. Even though they are happy when the cage is full of crabs you don't really get the impression that they are suffering. Of course I don't want them to suffer, but what I miss during the whole movie is the roughness, the sense of exploration and the crazy ideas we have seen in the previous productions. As a father to two little girls and no way to fish like these guys right now, I live out my dream in front of the TV and in this case I miss some of the wild ambiance of the earlier productions.
Was it released too early? Maybe. It is only one hour and the catches few - so few that the spectacular photos and sequences aren't there in a adequate amount. I have heard that catching steelhead is difficult and to that point the movie is probably realistic. But to make a movie describing the ups and downs and to make people dream AEG Media should have considered to take the trip once more and get more recordings for at least half an our more. The movie would then have been well worth the price. Now, we land on a GFF rating at 4, only.