MSRP: Free with Purchase of Nike SB Shoes
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 23 minutes

• Trailer

The Pitch

Nike made a High-Definition skate video to help sell shoes.

The Humans

Justin Brock, Daryl Angel, David Clark, Grant Taylor, Shane O’Neill and Theotis Beasley

The Nutshell

Nike has experimented with short-film filmmaking in the past, but this feels more honest. Director Jason Hernandez takes six mid-level skating pros out into the urban wilds to shoot some amazing jumps. For those of you expecting B-reel footage from a Sonic Youth video, you’re going to be surprised. What Hernandez manages to capture is a multi-camera odyssey into the dynamic of the modern skating community. It also doesn’t hurt that Nike manages to slip in shots of the guys wearing the latest in Nike SB Debacle footwear.

This used to be entertaining to me when I was 13.

The Lowdown

Debacle is one of the weirder releases that I’ve covered at CHUD. I’ve done my share of coverage for product-based media at other sites, but I’ve never had to cover such a corporate release here. The gist of the push is that Nike is trying to move the rather pricy Debacle Skateboarding shoes during the summer months. When you hit your local Nike SB retailer and spend more than 100 dollars, you’ll get a copy of the Blu-Ray. But, that’s only while supplies last. The Nike website appears to be sold out, so you’ll have to find a brick and mortar store in your neighborhood.

Some might wonder why they should give a damn about promo footage. I guess it’s a sign of the times that skateboarding is becoming passe for kids. Nobody wants to gleam the cube, when your classmates are willing to put out at a younger age. There’s a lot of attitude onscreen and the general posturing of skaters trying to make their activities seem cool and rebellious. But, no one gets seriously hurt and it feels like a long-form commercial. I’d recommend it for home theater demo material if it was shot above private sector grade HD video.

None of the skaters are really that memorable. That’s not a knock on them, they skate well and they seem dedicated to their craft. It’s just that it’s hard to get excited about these guys when you have the personalities from Big Brother, CKY, Birdman and related houses dominating the media. A bunch of guys skating around and not really doing much is only entertaining to hardcore fans. The only time that the guys try to do anything visually interesting is when you’ve got three skaters trading lanes in an empty swimming pool.

The MPEG-2 encoded transfer is amazing for the guerilla shoot that these guys undertook. But, it pales in comparison to major studio releases on the Blu-Ray format. The Dolby 2.0 track is pretty flat, but it sets up a basic soundstage for front speaker action and dialogue. The one thing I did notice about the film was that the director seemed scared to go in for the close-up. You never see a skater’s face during a trick, which is really odd for these kinds of videos. Hell, I can remember several tapes out of the 1990s where you’d almost have a cameraman riding a skate’s ass throughout a shoot.

Baby steps.

The Package

with a really interesting Vinyl style package. There’s a cardboard inlay for the DVD to rest, while there’s tons of information about the skaters and the product line they’re pimping. You get a sticker and some other junk that is just more basic promotional flair. The real kicker is that the Blu-Ray was produced in a limited run and that seems to stimulate the brains of the obsessive collectors. I can’t say that I recommend dropping one hundred dollars for a limited edition Blu-Ray. It’s just that there’s worse shit you can buy. Tony Hawk: Ride…I’m looking at you.

6.5 out of 10