Multi-cultural pep talks blend with exciting snowboarding footage in an acceptable diversion for junior athletes. Hawaiian-based computer program-designer Peter Kapahaala (Yuji Okumoto) has high academic hopes for his son Johnny (Brandon Baker). But surfing whiz Johnny would rather emulate his champion athlete grandfather, Johnny Tsunami (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), than his workaholic father. Peter, for his part, considers his father a failure and when he's offered a position at an exclusive New England prep school, promptly uproots his son and wife Melanie (Mary Page Keller). Johnny doesn't think much of his new school's social pecking order; while his fellow students go gaga watching snooty Brett (Zach Bostrom) slalom down the slopes, Johnny doesn't fit in with the ski set. To Peter's chagrin, Johnny prefers the company of average kids like Sam (Lee Thompson Young), who attend public school and enjoy the declasse pastime of snowboarding. Because snowboarding is similiar to surfing, Johnny soon masters the skill, even though the snooty ski resorts limit the snowboarders' access to prime areas. Johnny's close friendship with Sam, a military brat, is jeopardized when Sam's father gets transferred; Johnny and Sam impulsively run away to Hawaii. Grandpa Johnny Tsunami returns the boys and reconciles with Peter, who comes to the realization that he can't mold his son in his own image. Grandpa Johnny also sets up a challenge match to extend the rights of the snowboarders now it's up to Johnny to pit his snowboarding skills against Brett's skiing expertise. So benign and dramatically weightless that it very nearly evaporates as you watch it, this Disney picture should appeal to sports-minded youngsters, though its plea for social equality may leave adults and cynical children a little dewy-eyed.
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- Released: 2001
- Review: Multi-cultural pep talks blend with exciting snowboarding footage in an acceptable diversion for junior athletes. Hawaiian-based computer program-designer Peter Kapahaala (Yuji Okumoto) has high academic hopes for his son Johnny (Brandon Baker). But surfin… (more)