Tengu – God of Mischief


Throughout time, the god of Mischief has been depicted in many ways, through many images. Today, Tengu takes the form of power-slide hungry skateboarders dominating the urban metropolis around them.

Colin Read’s ‘Tengu – God of Mischief‘ pushes itself away from the conventional aesthetics of a full-length skate video and instead displays something quirky, unique and most importantly relatable. Armed with a VX1000 and a vision, Read has embraced Magenta’s ethic of ‘Worldwide Connection’ and incorporated some of the liveliest skateboard heavy cities around the globe.

Connor Kammerer eases you into the first part with both his style and musical accompaniment. It’s almost like the calm before the storm ahead. A host of snappy ollies and inventive lines lead straight into the subways, where the group collective show creativeness at it’s best.

Just about everybody heard about the 145 St. platform ollie last year. The photo alone is enough to make any skateboarder’s stomach turn, but watching it unfold on a screen really does justice to Koki Loaiza‘s incredible second try land. This for me was the highlight of the video. There’s a real magic about watching skaters literally risk their lives in such a composed and carefree manner.

Habitat’s Alex Davis makes brief appearances throughout, as well as showcasing a small-shared part towards the end. This makes a stark contrast to his ‘Search the Horizon’ full part released last year. Where Read shoots ‘Tengu’ almost entirely using a fish-eye lens, ‘Search the Horizon’ concentrated much more on ‘long-lense/single trick’ basis. ‘Tengu’ displays Alex freely roaming in combined trick lines, adding a real gritty East Coast vibe to his persona.

Leo Valls, Carlos Young and Ben Gore also come out in force for a traditional Magenta San Francisco part. The accelerated downhill wall-rides and wallies carry all of the traits of a ‘Hill Street Blues Pt. 3’ and adds a great variety in both location and speed.

On occasions, the detailed sketches that spontaneously appear on screen can be a little distracting on a first viewing. Although on a second or third watch, you can truly learn to appreciate the effort and skill that Evan Borja and Ryu Okubu brought to the piece with their hand drawn animations. The soundtrack is constructed entirely around the environment and naturally blends in with what your eyes are seeing. The flowing downtown jazz compliments the hints of far eastern melodies and manages to tie everything together visually and aurally.

Not only are buyers of the hard copy treated to a full-length masterpiece, but also equipped with over 30 minutes of bonus features, which really are a bonus. The ‘Behind the Scenes’ footage unquestionably provides laughs and truly expresses the comedic side of filming with Read.

At a glance, ‘Tengu’ seems effortless. The general perception is that Read has picked up his camera and followed his crew of incredibly talented friends around for the day. Something that makes watching this film all the more enjoyable.

Seeing the credits roll was almost an instant cue to pick my board up and call some of my friends. Everything I saw seemed, well, ‘achievable’.

If you’re a fan of watching people hurl themselves down 15 sets, then ‘Tengu’ probably isn’t for you. If you prefer something more light hearted and fast paced around rough and gritty spots, then you’ve found your golden ticket. I strongly recommend you sit back and watch the millimetres fly off the wheels.

5/5 – available on DVD now from mandibleclaw.blogspot.co.uk or your local skate shop.

Bradley Howe