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Thrashin’ (Blu-ray Review)

ThrashinThrashin’ features Academy Award nominee Josh Brolin (Best Supporting Actor, Milk) in one of his earliest film performances. Thrashin’ also features special appearances by skating royalty Tony Hawk, Per Welinder and Rodney Mullen, along with cameos by Flea and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and director Catherine Hardwicke (Lords of Dogtown, Thirteen, Twilight).  L.A.’s rival skateboarders – the laid back Ramp Locals and the punk rock Daggers – go to war for skateboard supremacy in the action-packed drama Thrashin’.  Directed by David Winters (Code Name Vegeance, Mission Kill), written by Paul Brown and Alan Sacks, and co-starring Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks, Of Mice and Men), Brooke McCarter (The Lost Boys) and Chuck McCann (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter).

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Film 

No sooner has he arrived in Los Angeles to compete in a downhill skating competition, Corey Webster finds himself falling for Chrissy, a beautiful blonde with close connections to the skating scene. It turns out Chrissy’s brother is Tommy Hook, the tough-as-nails leader of The Daggers who has his sights set on the skateboard competition prize.  Chrissy’s love for Corey will be tested when her overprotective brother and Corey face off in a deadly skate race in Thrashin’.

Wow, this movie had me right from the start.  This film pulls off a checklist of cliched teen comedy/drama with red ink all over the place.  I couldn’t believe how much fun I had with this thing.  For a minute, maybe just the open of the movie was great, but it kept going and kept pushing things to ridiculous new heights.  There’s a lot to fault this movie with, but not having a great time watching it is not one of them.

This film gives us young Josh Brolin at odds with Robert Rusler (Who absolutely hams this thing up).  But the funny thing is, this movie felt like if someone made a Friday the 13th film where the kids just stayed at home and didn’t go to the lake.  These people all feel like they could have been in any given Friday the 13th movie.  Most of them fitting style stereotypes and the like.  Just the overall feel of this movie made me wonder when Jason was going to pop out from behind a half pipe and swipe some poor kid with a machete.

These characters are all hollow fun and all, but Rusler steals this thing every chance he gets.  He’s a bit overly evil.  Some of it has to do with “badass” stuff not aging into being badass stuff now.  And the funny thing is, he seems far more interested in getting with his own sister than his girlfriend (A young, punk looking Sherilyn Fenn…swoon).  This is possibly one of my favorite all time cliched 80s bad guys.  Oh, I’m not sure if this was originally a Cannon Films release or not, but at the beginning he delivers a diss on the Breakin’ movies which gave me a chuckle.

Thrashin’ truly runs a gamut of so bad they’re gnarly things.  While the Red Hot Chili Peppers show up for a club scene, most of the songs in the movie are so outrageously bad you can’t help but enjoy them.  The theme song is from Meat Loaf too, if that helps and there’s some Devo in there somewhere.  Also, how can you hate on a film that has a big fight sequence featuring skateboard jousting complete with road flares to light the “arena”.

When rating this movie, I wanted to give it a much higher score because I liked it so much.  However, I did not want to mislead people about it.  Some may be too uppity to enjoy such a treasure as Thrashin’ is.  I went humble and gave it just on the side of positive from average.  But if you “get” and like these types of movies, go to town.  You’ll have a blast.  Thrashin’ is a new found gem for me.  I must thank Olive Films for enlightening me with Thrashin’ along with Stone Cold this month.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Being as I’d never seen the film before, I thought Thrashin’ looked pretty good on Blu-ray.  The film features the typical Olive Films “hands off” approach, leaving it to be a pretty accurate depiction of the print transferred over.  Its a little soft but features some impressive detail on things like paneling, arm casts and surface textures.

Depth:  Movements come across a smooth.  Background images are about as clear as the focus allows them.  Spacing and such in environments is average.

Black Levels: Blacks are accurate.  Depending on the lighting, there are various shades of darkness with most detail left intact and not hidden.  No real crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Super 80s come across as bold and popping as you’d expect them to.  Reds are a real standout.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Details such as pores, sweat beads and the like are decent.

Noise/Artifacts: Grain, specs, dirt

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  A well rounded track, you get a nice distinct clarity on things like the skateboards rolling or two dudes duking it out.  The music is buffed up nicely by the mix.  A fair balance rounds this track out nicely.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Non-ADR’d lines sound loud, clear and clean.

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Extras 

Thrashin’ contains no supplemental features.  Menu offers “Play Movie” and “Chapters”.

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Summary 

Did not expect to love the hell out of this movie.  But, I’ll take the very nice surprise.  This super 80s teen movie had me rolling and pumping my fist the entire way.  I will definitely be forcing those I love dearly to see this movie.  Olive Films Blu-ray is up to snuff with most all of their releases.  As always, I’d like something in the way of bonus materials (ESPECIALLY the cast looking back upon this movie), but getting the movie out is first and foremost.  Recommended if you love yourself some silly 80s comedies/dramas/skateboard movies.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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