Thursday, March 20, 2014

#1,312. Deck Dogz (2005)

Directed By: Steve Pasvolsky

Starring: Sean Kennedy, Richard Wilson, Ho Thi Lu

Tag line: "Make your own reality"

Trivia: This movie grossed $286,708 at the box office in its native Australia

Now here’s a movie that took me completely by surprise!

Three skateboarding friends: Spasm (Sean Kennedy), Poker (Richard Wilson), and Blue Flame (Ho Thi Lu), who call themselves the “Deck Dogz”, have a knack for getting into trouble. The day after they’re arrested for skateboarding on public property (for which they have to come up with $10,000 to pay for the damages), the trio is expelled from school for causing a disturbance. As a result, Spasm’s dad (Anthony Cogin), a single father, forbids his son to hang around with his two best pals. But with the Beach Bowl skate competition only a few days away, an event that’s going to be officiated by skateboard legend Tony Hawk (playing himself), Spasm, who’s been working on a new move that could land him a sponsorship, defies his father and joins up with Poker and Blue Flame, who intend to skate all the way to Sydney (where the competition’s being held). With the law only a few short steps behind, the three friends try to keep out of sight as they get closer to their destination. But despite their best efforts, trouble always seems to find them.

I picked up Deck Dogz, a 2005 Australian import, a week ago for my youngest son, and didn’t hold out much hope that I’d enjoy the film (he usually asks me to watch these extreme sports flicks with him, and sometimes it’s a real chore to sit through them). Sure, I’m a fan of Lords of Dogtown, but there’s more to that movie than skateboarding. As it turns out, there’s more to Deck Dogz as well. In fact, the film’s strongest attributes are its three lead characters, all portrayed with gusto by its young stars (I was especially impressed with Richard Wilson’s performance as Poker, the leader of the group and the one who usually gets them all into hot water). While they do occasionally break the law (one night, Poker and Blue Flame sneak into school to steal back Spasm’s skateboard, which the principle had confiscated, and in the process accidentally start a fire that destroys half the building), I nonetheless found myself rooting for these kids, who, flaws aside, always have each others' backs.

Stylishly directed by Steven Pasvolsky, Deck Dogz features a hard rocking soundtrack, some well-designed animated sequences, and a handful of quirky elements (whenever Poker loses his temper, an alarm sounds and a red “F” button starts blinking in the middle of his forehead) that work in the movie’s favor. And seeing as my son absolutely loved it, I’m guessing Deck Dogz is gonna become a staple around these parts.

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