Thursday, March 20, 2014

#1,312. Deck Dogz (2005) - Spotlight on Australia

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

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, joins up with Poker and Blue Flame, and the three skate all the way to Sydney.

With the law a few short steps behind, the friends try to stay out of sight. But Despite their best efforts, trouble always seems to track them down.

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 would enjoy the film. He usually asks me to watch these sports flicks with him, and sometimes they're a real chore to sit through. 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 three lead characters are its strongest element. All are portrayed with gusto by the 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 into hot water. They do occasionally break the law; one night, Poker and Blue Flame break into school to steal back Spasm’s skateboard, which their principle had confiscated, and in the process accidentally start a fire that destroys half the building. Yet I still found myself rooting for these kids, who always have each others' backs.

Stylishly directed by Steven Pasvolsky, Deck Dogz features quick cuts, a hard rocking soundtrack, some cool 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), all of which lift the film to another level. And seeing as my son absolutely loved it, I’m guessing Deck Dogz is gonna become a fixture around these parts!

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