DVD Reviews

Fallen – Ride The Sky

Barcelona Premiere.

Barcelona is a beautiful city. And with the amount of skating that gets filmed here, where better to have the Premier of Fallen’s latest and greatest production than 500 meters from the world famed Parral.lel skate spot? The Sala Apolo theatre is also a perfect venue, firstly it’s proper oldskool, secondly its HUGE (and it needs to be for the mass crowd of skaters and skate bettys that were standing patiently in the street outside its art deco doors), and thirdly, it has a well stocked bar!

It seems like every company’s DVD is “highly anticipated” these days, but the hype afterwards is usually pretty short lived. This DVD will be slightly different. We have come to expect a certain style of skating from Zero/Baker/Fallen and that’s nothing but straight big rail hammers. But this video has some heavy tech action too, as you would expect with heads like Billy Marks and Chris Cole on the team. The opening montage gives a feel of something monumental is about to go down; a lot cleaner than anything I have seen from the Jamie Thomas camp before.

Tommy Sandoval gets the video off to a rowdy start with the mandatory rail bangers, adding in a lovely pivot ollie-fakie back in about 10 feet up the sketchy banks at the docks here in Barca; the local crowd go mental at the sight of their home turf. Add in some feeble to backsmith rail action and a – somehow styley – fingerflip down a gap and you just know Sandoval is worth the hype and is undoubtedly on fire this year.

Some of the lesser known guys show the gap between pro and am is almost non-existent these days, with Gilbert Crockett dropping front crooks that Mike York would be envious of and making the backsmith-backside flip out undoubtedly “Fully Flared” worthy. Brian Hansen takes slams, and no wonder seeing he goes as fast as he does, especially when trying – and making – pop shove 50-50s on handrails and gnarly nollie back lips down 14 stair rails!

This is Josh Harmony´s “I made it” section – coming across totally official with innovative smith grind transfers off the wrong side of rails whilst throwing in some of the largest frontside flips down drops I have ever seen. So much flow and ease in his skating make Josh a firm crowd favourite, I’m sure there is a lot more to come.

Jamie Thomas for me is always going to be the main event here, the Iggy Pop of skateboarding keeps going and going while proving the old line of “class is permanent”. No sitting back and relying on his young guns to get the job done here – as eager as ever to push himself with the fastest 360 ollies I have witnessed and an even faster front nosegrind revert on a high and tight hubba. Add in all the usual expected JT action and we are given a section that even Slap Magazine’s forums couldn’t dismiss as “past it”. Next up is the unstoppable Chris Cole, it’s weird to see such a hesh rock dude enter the Daewon-Mullen realms of tech – the opener is a 180 fakie nose grind on a block to switch bigspin flip out; Barca felt that trick hard and the place is screaming! His section, like JT´s, is relaxed and controlled, which is an odd thing to say considering he mixes handrail gnar with varial flipping body varial action as well as a flip wall ride-to late shove off; Cole simply has it all. There are a few bangers I have to leave out, just for the surprise, or should say shock factor of seeing them unexpected for the first time. I wish his section was longer. Or better still, never ending.

The rest of the team held it down, even after the main guys had blown us away. Billy Marks has some interesting ideas on rails, flipping out of feeble grinds is a very unnatural looking feat, as is his ender: a switch frontside bigspin heelflip down the Carlsbad gap. Matt Bennet is rock-solid – Tony Cervantes and James Hardy both have a controlled form of urgency in their skating; tricks like fakie ollie to 50-50 down 15 steps is a trick that demands as much precision as it does balls, must be tough keeping up with their peers in video mode, but the fact they are on the video proves they are up there with the up and coming best in the game.

This vid is unique in many ways: the skating and filming style goes together well and creates a smokey, Jack Daniels scented flavour matched perfectly by the bluesy rock sound track. There isn’t any blatant branding going on either, which is refreshing. Jamie Thomas (at the premier) is wearing a haggard old “Camel Cigarettes” shirt (obviously a token collector!) that looks freshly slammed in. Ride the Sky has been a major production for these guys for a long time now and I hope they are stoked as the Barca crowd is on the finished product which feels honest, and even at times moving to watch these guys throw down and do their thing. This film will give faith to the hesh-skaters that skateboarding hasn’t fallen exclusively to the new-era hat wearing, Xgames aspiring, MTV show having fad that the current generation seem happy to let our culture die in. Skating’s back – it’s dirty, it bleeds, but if the Fallen can get up and Ride the Sky, skating is alive and kicking in 2008.

Click here for the trailer.

Philip Procter