Scott Lindgren Productions, $27
This is an article from the April 19, 2004 issue
A video about whitewater kayaking is the last place you'd expect
to find the perfect wave, but there it is, about five minutes
into the hourlong Burning Time. Paddler Steve Fisher finds the
wave--which is stationary and caused by rushing water hitting an
underwater shelf and then curling up into a backflow--in Zambia
on the river rapids coming off Victoria Falls. He gets inside the
never-collapsing tube and uses his paddle to hold his position.
"There is no other river in the world that I've heard of that
produces a wave of this nature," Fisher says.
The scene lasts for about 50 seconds, but it could have gone all
day. The moment is one of the high points of this adventure
pastiche, which is built largely around kayaking but also
includes some heli-skiing and a BASE jump by veteran stuntman
Miles Daisher. To tie it all together, Daisher skydives while
seated in a kayak and soars off a cliff on skis, pulling a
parachute on the way down.
The heli-skiing adventure, in southeast Alaska, provides Burning
Time's coolest shot. Zach Crist, one of the four skiers, is
headed down an untested slope when the snowy surface cracks
beneath his feet. Crist halts his descent and is not swept away,
but from a point-of-view camera mounted on his helmet we see his
brief but nightmarish view of the snow pack giving way and
starting a miniavalanche.
Burning Time could have done with a few more high points like
that, or at least a strong theme or narrative voice. Still, it
has more than a few sequences that stay with you. And if you're
into mesmerizing images, you could do worse than a straight hour
of Fisher in the tube. Sure, he goes nowhere, but it looks like a
wonderful way to burn time. --Bill Syken