FOR a generation of fans, Baywatch was an escapist fantasy that invoked sun, surf and some famously siliconeenhanced stars jogging slomo in form-fitting red Lycra across the beaches of California.
It drew in a weekly 1.1 billion viewers from 148 countries at its 1990s peak, offering sun without sunburn, golden sand without sandy sandwiches and David Hasselhoff without the hassle.
A new movie starring Dwayne Johnson hits theatres on Friday, promising a raunchier Baywatch that will succeed where many TV to big screen conversions like The Dukes of Hazzard, CHiPs and Lost in Space have failed.
Johnson, who executive produced, and director Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) insisted on aiming for an R-rating rather than the more family-friendly PG13 because they didn’t want to rein in the edgy humour, strong language and nudity.
The jokes are dirtier, the white-knuckle stunts are more intense and there’s more flesh on show, although — from the lingering
Despacito, shots of Zac Efron’s toned torso to a cringeworthy scene in a mortuary — much of it is male.
The movie follows devoted, overzealous, lifeguard Mitch Buchannon — Johnson taking over from the role made famous on TV by Hasselhoff — as he butts heads with a brash new recruit (Efron) while investigating a drug smuggling ring.
Alexandra Daddario, 31, who plays rookie lifeguard Summer Quinn, remembers expecting that the shoot in Florida and Georgia would mostly involve going to “look at hot chicks and hot guys and hang out on the beach all day”.
“But you can’t eat a hamburger, you have to eat light, you have to keep your stomach sucked in the whole time.”
Global star Priyanka Chopra makes her United States debut as the villain of the piece, ruthless businesswoman Victoria Leeds, a part originally written for a man.
“I think the spirit of Baywatch is the fact that you do something which is bigger than yourself,” Chopra, 34, said.
“You’re saving people’s lives in an ocean which can consume you completely. And that’s the spirit of camaraderie, of Baywatch.” AFP
Despacito has ruled the US Latin chart for 16 straight weeks.
The song is the first mostly Spanish-language track to top the mainstream US chart in 21 years.
In 1996, Macarena by the Spanish duo Los del Rio conquered the US as it set off an international dance sensation, with the song even figuring at the Democratic Party’s 1996 convention. AFP
4x2=8, New Face Reuters
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