Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Tsunami sequel fun, but doesn't make waves.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A mentor helps a defiant tween conquer peer pressure and value strong family bonds. Teens learn to overcome the negative influence of their deceitful gang leader.
Violence & Scariness
Dirt boarding scenes feature a few spills, including one that results in a fractured arm.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's a developing crush between two teen characters, but it doesn't generate any physical contact. Teen boys occasionally send suggestive looks girls' ways.
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Nothing iffy, but lots of extreme-sport slang like "sic" and "gnarly."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that one of the main characters in this made-for-TV movie is a tween who's rude to adults and his teen mentor throughout most of the story -- but he eventually shapes up and comes to respect them. Peer pressure is a dominant theme, with a group of teens learning to see through their leader's negative influence and following their own instincts. Though young viewers may not catch all the major plot points, they'll no doubt enjoy the action-packed dirt mountain boarding scenes.
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Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board
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What's the Story?
In this sequel, 17-year-old Johnny (Brandon Baker) heads to his native Hawaii for his surfing legend grandfather's wedding, and to reunite with best buddy Sam (Lil' J), who now lives in the islands. As a favor to his grandpa (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagama), Johnny keeps an eye on rebellious Chris (Jake T. Austin), the 12-year old son of grandpa's fiance. But Chris wants nothing to do with anyone in his new family, so Johnny takes up Chris' extreme sport -- dirt mountain boarding. But Johnny's camaraderie with the dirt boarding gang -- especially cute blonde Val (Rose McIver), whom Chris adores -- drives the troubled tween to take drastic measures to prove himself, and Johnny must find a way to reach out to him before his actions hurt someone else.
Is It Any Good?
Back on Board lacks some of the spark that made its predecessor such a fan favorite. But it still blends a decent script with strong performances and positive messages about being true to yourself and thoughtful about your choice in friends. Top that off with thrilling scenes of the latest extreme sport, and families will likely find a lot to like.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the media influences people's taste in hobbies and entertainment. Tweens: Had you ever heard of dirt mountain boarding before this movie? What do you think of it? After seeing it, would you want to try it out? What other activities have you wanted to try because you saw them in TV shows or movies? Families can also discuss peer pressure. Have you ever felt negative pressure from a friend? How did you handle it? Do you think this movie's scenario is plausible, or did the characters' problems get solved too easily?
- In theaters: June 7, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: October 9, 2007
- Cast: Brandon Baker, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagama, Jake T. Austin
- Director: Eric Bross
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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