Thrashin’ Blu-ray Review
If WEST SIDE STORY got in a fight with THE MIGHTY DUCKS and it was refereed by MAD MAX, you’d get THRASHIN’. I have yet to find out if that’s my way of saying you shouldn’t watch this or my way of saying it’s a blissful, cheesy mess. THRASHIN’ screams 80’s movie and it certainly has a cult classic feel to it. I’ve certainly only heard it referred to as one of the worst movies of the decade or by others, mainly 80’s kids, as a guilty pleasure. That’s the general debate amongst people when discussing a cult classic. Which in my mind raises a random question, do cult classics really need to be released on blu-ray?
Cult classics capture a certain essence and of course your viewing experience of this debatable cult classic depends on a couple of factors. I won’t bother going over them, but certainly everyone that enjoys a cult classic, would agree that it deserves to be watched on the worn out VHS tape or at an area repertory cinema that shamefully shows it around midnight. THRASHIN’ is definitely one of those movies and oddly enough it feels cheap that it would need to be restored and released on blu-ray. I’m not a cinema snob, but if I was to watch a movie I view as a cult classics, like BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA or DEAD ALIVE, I would rather watch them grainy or on 35 mm film.
The idea of how one should view a trashy treasure came about while watching THRASHIN’. It’s gritty, silly, moronic, and entertaining. The little wear and tear marks at the beginning of the film feel more natural than being able to see each individual bead of sweat drip down Josh Brolin or the wrinkle marks of some of the adults in this movie. The crystal clear presentation reveals some of the cheap costumes that bad guys are wearing, which is unfortunate since they’re generically dressed like they’re about to go to a Slayer concert. Clarity, even in modern movies, can cheapen the most expensive of movie products.
The story for THRASHIN’ is bare bones. Josh Brolin plays Corey, a masterful skateboarder, who leads a group of other skateboarders, The Ramp LOCALS. They’re such a stereotypical group of hoodlums, you keep waiting for a shot of an elderly gentleman shaking his fists and swearing at them, at any moment. It doesn’t take long for the WEST SIDE STORY arc to rear its ugly head. Corey’s gang has a rival skateboarding gang, the Daggers. And just as you’d expect, the leader has a very attractive sibling. Chrissy (Gidley) immediately garnishes the attention of Corey. This Romeo and Juliet relationship pits the gangs against one another.
Now I could pose a couple of questions to you about the plot, such as whether or not Corey will get together with this girl, if the rival gang will retaliate, and if there’s a big skateboarding showdown at the end, but I’m sure you know the answer as soon as I ask those questions. Now if a movie like this was made today, I’d hate it. I would be writing filthy derogatory arguments about how you should avoid this movie at all costs and if a copy of it falls in your hands, to toss it in the trash. But alas, this movie was born in the right decade.
THRASHIN’ sports a killer soundtrack with punk music, Meat Loaf, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who even appear in the movie and gleefully guilty cameo appearance). The skating shots put you on the four wheels and have you gliding along with the gang. It helps that there’s an underlying knowledge about what’s happening here. It chooses the cheesiest softcore porn music during a shamefully dumb romance scene. That’s just one of many self-aware moments. For all its misgivings, it may be your favorite film if you’re willing to strap on a helmet and roll with Corey’s crew.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:85:1) Despite my earlier thoughts, this is a great video presentation. Some spotty moments of clarity for a couple of night scenes and the beginning of the movie. But overall a spot-on restoration and transfer.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0) Like I said, I love the soundtrack and it’s blended in perfectly to the movie. Some audio mixers today need to realize you don’t need to make the audience deaf for them to feel the pulse and energy of the music.