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Two pot smoking skaters are out doing something (probably skating), when they stop to have a cheeky puff of the naughty stick. So far, so stoned, until that is, they witness a murder and instead of hiding or running away, they film it on their cameras until they’re spotted. Thus begins an hour and a half long chase in which Seth Rogen and James Franco, I mean Mickey Mahut and Idriss Diop show us how good they are at skateboarding. Which incidentally is really good. Luckily. The film would’ve been over in a second if they were beginners.
That’s all you need to know about “Skate or Die” – it’s one giant chase sequence. Once the set-up is done and dusted, it’s chase after chase after chase after chase – all on skateboards. There’s a skateboard chase through a car park, there’s a skateboard chase through the streets, there’s a skateboard chase across roofs, there’s a skateboard chase through train stations and there’s even a skateboard chase through outer space (ok maybe not the last one, but there might as well have been). It’s all very silly – like why are there ramps on the roof right outside the window out of which they’ve just climbed? Oh so that they can SKATE up them and jump onto the building next door, stupid!
Then if it’s not quite silly enough for you, there’ll be a chase with policemen on roller skates, or one of their friends will pull some roller blades out of nowhere so that she can join in the four-wheeled-fun, or suddenly you’re witness to one of the most completely gratuitous and needless sex scenes you’ll ever encounter. The skaters also posses extra-special boards which enable them to outrun cars and the like, thus allowing the individual sub-chases to last more than the two minutes that they would actually last in real life.
*BUT IT IS STILL QUITE GOOD ACTUALLY*
Yes, somehow it’s still an above average action film. Most likely due to the fact that I think that the filmmakers realised how daft the film they were making was and so nothing is taken too seriously. It should be viewed for what it is – one long action sequence – and if this is up your street, then so is “Skate or Die”. It’s basically an action film in the vein of “Tom Yum Goong” but instead of fight scenes, there’s people doing stunts on skateboards. So make of that what you will.
The exact audience that this will appeal to is the early to mid teenage boy who has just started skateboarding and thinks it’s the coolest thing in the world man and they’re going to be doing it forever and they don’t care about rules and what you say and shut up you can’t tell them what to do and watch this kick-flip. Anyone serious about skateboarding will probably laugh at its blatantly juvenile treatment of the sport – but that’s not to say they won’t enjoy it.
That’s because it’s almost impossible not to enjoy. Yes, it’s childish, yes it’s utterly unrealistic, yes it’s impractical but so what? It’s just as harebrained and ridiculous as many of the blockbusters Hollywood puts out every summer – think of it as the ‘accelerator suit’ scene in “G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra” stretched to feature length and without rocket launchers, robotic suits or Sienna Miller. And with skateboards.
On the whole, “Skate or Die” is a surprisingly exciting and unpretentious action movie (with a fantastic soundtrack by the way) that I’m sure will please those that like their action undiluted by exposition. It’s also telling that it comes from France, where Luc Besson seems to be leading the race for these brash, unsubtle and unassuming explosion-filled crash-bang-wallop rodeos, and it seems that there’s others following suit.
If you like the sound of this, it’s good news as “Skate or Die” is the first in a planned franchise covering other unusual methods of transport, next up is “Pogo Stick or Die”, then “Segway or Die”, followed by finally “Pull Your Trousers up Really High and See How Fast You Can Run Without Bending Your Legs or Die”.
Skate or Die is out on Region 2 DVD on 5th April from Manga Entertainment