For anyone not familiar with the term, BASE is an acronym that stands for the four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump – Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth.
The daredevils who perform these death-defying stunts – wearing either parachutes or specially-made wing suits – are the subject of new movie BASE, which taps into the explosion of interest in BASE jumping in the past decade, particularly on YouTube and other video-sharing websites.
Its exponents are the most extreme of the ‘X’ sports personalities who attract huge followings on social media, and whose exploits have featured in films including Batman Begins, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Star Trek and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Now they have a cinematic spectacle of their own, and BASE certainly delivers in terms of capturing the speed, excitement and sheer adrenaline rush of their exploits.
Rather than a straight feature-length documentary, director Richard Parry has opted to fuse a fictional love story with a series of stunning leaps in exotic locations around the world, with a true-life backstory that gives his film an added poignancy.
BASE features renowned wing suit pilot Alexander Polli, a true ‘rock and roll’ legend of the BASE-jumping world, who died aged 31 when a flight went wrong in August 2016.
‘Most, importantly, it reveals how Polli had lived life to the fullest before his demise’
Also a trained actor, he completed his work on the BASE project but sadly never got to see the finished film before his untimely death in the French Alps.
Polli plays JC, a thrill-seeking playboy, who is left shattered by the death of his best friend Chico (Carlos Briceno Schutte) during one of their leaps.
Attempts increasingly dangerous jumps as he wrestles with his grief, JC also falls for Chico’s former girlfriend Ash (French actress Julie Dray).
BASE follows JC as he flies lower, closer and faster, recording every moment on film as his pursuit of living on the edge threatens not only his own life but the lives of those around him.
As the publicity material puts it, BASE ‘follows a man over the edge and watches him fall’.
The movie acts as a tribute to Polli and his lifestyle, showing the audience how extreme he was and how much love he had for his sport.
Most importantly, it reveals how he had lived life to the fullest before his demise.
There’s a sense, however, it which it falls between two stools. I enjoyed the parts that showed how BASE jumping works, particularly the landings, and it features some truly astounding footage. It really is an exceptional sport like no other.
But for me the movie loses its way somewhat in the many scenes that don’t relate to jumping; these tended to interrupt its flow at times.
Who will want to watch it? I imagine mostly hardcore BASE-jumping fans, although others aware of Polli’s fatal accident might be compelled to give it a go.
It’s certainly spectacular, dramatic and full of action. Did it need a love story as well? I’m not convinced.
Feature image courtesy of #BASEMovie. BASE is available worldwide on iTunes and On Demand from 6th November 6th.