Home Movie Reviews ‘Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off’ – Review
‘Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off’ – Review

‘Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off’ – Review


When it comes to extreme sports royalty, one man reigns as the King, the Birdman himself, and the lord of the skies, Tony Hawk. Often regarded as the most famous skateboarder of all time, who took the sport to new heights and showed what was capable on the back of a board, Tony Hawk gets to tell his own story, in his own words, in Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off and this is an insightful and incredible documentary to witness for extreme sports fans.

A wide-ranging, definitive look at Hawk’s life and iconic career, and his relationship with the sport with which he’s been synonymous for decades. Hawk, born in San Diego, Calif., is a pioneer of modern vertical skating and one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. The documentary features unprecedented access, never-before-seen footage, and interviews with Hawk, and prominent figures in the sport including Stacy Peralta, Rodney Mullen, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Neil Blender, Andy MacDonald, Duane Peters, Sean Mortimer, and Christian Hosoi.

Documenting his entire life span, Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off is an incredibly interesting and introspective documentary that examines the life and achievements of the king of skateboarding himself, Tony Hawk. Regarded as the greatest vert skateboarder of all time, who was the first to conquer the 900, brought skateboarding into the mainstream and changed the way we look at extreme sports, Hawk gets open and honest with this documentary and his candidness is incredibly sincere. This documentary examines many different sides of Hawk, from his ruthless pursuit of perfection and ultimate commitment to his craft to the difficulties that he’s faced in his personal life and the wins, losses, injuries and traumas that have shaped his life as a skateboarder. Nothing is held back in this documentary, and skateboarding fans will find the subject matter utterly fascinating to look upon.

One of the most interesting questions that Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off poses is what happens to the man who is constantly searching for the edge. And in Hawk’s case he found it. From a young age, it was clear that Hawk never really fit, being seen by his family as ‘the mistake’ due to the advanced age of his mother and father when he was born. It appears that he was a child who was lost. Until he found skateboarding and everything changed from that moment. Dedicating everything of himself to his sport, Hawk would turn pro at the age of 14 under the tutelage of Dogtown legend Stacey Peralta, and his Bones Brigade, and it wasn’t long until he was winning competitions left and right. This early footage that we get to witness of a young Hawk in action is fascinating to watch and it’s amazing to see how his style and form developed out of his own process and the difficulties that he had to overcome.

One of the key parts of Hawk’s persona that this documentary focuses on is his ruthless, almost insane level of focus and competition. But this is not a completion towards other skaters, but instead a burning drive that falls over Hawk when he tries to master a new trick. And it’s scary to witness. Dialled into whatever goal he’s trying to accomplish, Hawk goes to extreme lengths to accomplish his feats of aerial skateboarding and nowhere is this seen more than in his pursuit of the fabled 900. Once regarded as a near impossibility, we see first hand Hawk’s relentless pursuit of mastering this trick, which he finally achieved at the 1999 XGames and which in doing so made him a superstar. But this pursuit of excellence comes with a cost, and Hawk’s body has been smashed to bits on the wood and concrete of numerous skate ramps, and some of the spills we see him take in the film’s archive footage are shocking to witness.

Thisis a documentary that is made with a profound sense of openness, and you get a complete and total portrait of Tony Hawk as an athlete, businessman, husband, father and man. He’s open enough to admit his flaws, but also humble enough to talk of his successes. While competitive success has gifted him an incredible life, Hawk is still a man who for him the art of skateboarding comes first, rather than the trophies or medals that are associated with it. With this documentary, he completely opens up as a person and this is one of the rawest and most honest sports documentaries you’ll ever witness.

Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off is a fantastically powerful sports documentary and audience members will find a wealth of information and value in its production. It allows one of the greatest ever extreme sports competitors to be completely open about his life and career, successes and injuries and how pursuing the edge has been the greatest thrill of his life.

Image: SKY TV