The premiere of Hang Loose in Hawaii was definitely a success. The theater was packed with people, young and old, and I could sense a lot of excitement in the air. Prior to the screening, the director Ryan, as well as Kevin and another production member gave a brief introduction about the movie. According to Kevin, who actually wrote the film along with Dante Basco and Benjamin Arthur, the movie was about an 18-year-old boy who goes out with his soon to be brother-in-law and has the craziest adventure of his life. He didn’t just have fun, but he gained a new confidence about himself and got to know his brother-in-law a little better.
After his introduction the movie began. It started out a little slow with scenes of a depressed Kevin obsessing over his ex-girlfriend but soon picked up once the movie transitioned to taking place on Oahu. I could hear little murmurs from the audience saying things like “OMG that’s by Go Airlines” or “Waikiki!”. Recognizing the different places in the movie definitely helped the audience feel more connected to the movie. It’s always nice to see some locals acting in the film as well.
The movie then moves to different parts of Honolulu. The wedding was to be held at the Ilikai Hotel and this is where everything started. Augie T played the gay friend of Grace, Kevin’s soon-to-be-married sister. Augie T didn’t fail to bring the laughs. His comedic style definitely made the whole audience laugh. This is where the majority of the cast was introduced and the storyline began.
It was Dante’s last night as a bachelor and they had a night of partying ahead of them. Kevin was hesitant about going out but Dante insisted that he come. The night starts out 939 and this is where we see Kevin start to loosen up. The movie did a pretty good job in making it look as realistic as possible. It looked fairly close to a regular night at 939. Then Kevin gets into some trouble with a drug dealer and his Samoan body guards and gets chased down Kapiolani Blvd. The Samoans weren’t necessarily portrayed as bad people but as big men who did as their boss told them to. I thought the comedic aspect was a nice touch in avoiding any Samoan stereotypes from generating.
The movie then transitions to Bar 35 where a romance starts to brew between Kevin and Kat, the girl he met on Waikiki Beach. Although you could tell it was a scripted scene at Bar 35, it was nice seeing so many local hot spots being used through out the movie. After Bar 35 the movie goes to a house in Hawaii Kai where the after party was held. Kevin, being a tourist, didn’t receive the warmest welcome from the locals and I think this part wasn’t all true. Not all locals are like that but I could see why tourists would think they’re that way.
At this point in the movie Kevin shows off his newly found confidence and stands up to the drug dealer and Samoans and faces his fear of jumping off a cliff into the ocean. It was one of those moments in the movie where you feel glad that the character finally starts to believe in himself. After some drama between Kevin and Dante, the movie gets into love mode and Dante marries Grace and they live happily ever after.
This movie had a little bit of everything – comedy, action, drama, and love. I think the best part was that it was filmed on Oahu and they did a pretty good job of portraying the island without it seeming cheesy. I definitely enjoyed myself watching this movie and I’d see it again. I think the best part was that some of the production crew and actors from the film interacted with the audience after. If anyone gets a chance to see this movie, I know they’ll enjoy it.