Lakai Limited Footwear ‘Fully Flared’ DVD

How do you begin to write a review of a skate video like this one? What was it… a two year wait? Something like that. How could this film possibly live up to the expectations that I’d set for it? I was thinking along the lines of ‘Video Days’ or ‘Questionable’ for this one, but surely the days of such epics were gone in this disposable DVD age.
Anyway, the Lakai shoe team have been compiling incredible amounts of footage (I heard a rumour that Marc Johnson handed in 21 minutes) for this one, so regardless of what the package as a whole was going to be like, I knew there’d be some good skating.

I missed the London premiere (let’s just say that ‘girl-related issues’ put paid to that one), but initial reports were suggesting it was groundbreaking stuff. Not just skate video of the year, but possibly the last decade. Whoa…

So I finally got sent a copy to check out, courtesy of the guys at Revival Distribution.

After a really impressive slow-motion intro sequence (maybe the term ‘bangers’ needs to be redefined after watching this), the skating kicks in with a section from Mike Mo Capaldi. And what a fuckin’ section it is. I knew this guy was really good, but damn! Loads of tricks I hadn’t seen before all executed with great style and solid landings. There’s a beautiful line that ends with the best nollie heelflip backside tail to big spin out I’ve seen and his switch frontside crooked to fakie tre is absolutely perfect. I had to rewind that one. Twice. All angles covered, Mike handles manual variations, ledge work and stairs and gaps like a professional.
Next up is East Coast powerhouse, Anthony Pappalardo with some fast city lines and some amazing ledge trickery after literally smashing himself into smithereens at the start.. His 360 ollie flip over the pyramid thing is sweet.
Then you get the European team’s ‘6 Squares’ section, which kicks in with a cool little intro section. Really nicely put together and not something to skip. And then… then you get Jesus Fernandez. Oh man. What a section. The most amazing ledge tricks I’ve seen, all landed on the bolts and executed at speed. 270 ollie tailslide to flip out? Yes sir! Backside bigspin to long fakie 5-0? Yes! 270 flip (turning with it) to tailslide on a bench? Hells yeah! I’ll leave his last trick for you to see yourself. Amazing.

Next up are local London legends Nick Jensen and Danny Brady, both of who do the UK serious justice with a really nicely filmed section destroying the streets of London. Loved the Fairfields line and Brady’s backside 180 fakie nose grind into the black bank was amazing. The closing trick… damn! Round of applause for a really impressive section.

Lucas Puig is up next and having already seen enough Cliche footage to know that he’s a serious contender meant I was looking forwards to this. His first trick might have been an accident, but it shows just how ‘bolts’ his footwork is! Best switch heels ever and his closing line is amazing. J.J. Rousseau shows his prowess on the ledges and manual pads – the kickflip backside nosegrind revert (coming off the hard way) performed in the middle of a ledge is perfection. J.B. Gillet is up next… oh man… another French guy showing that these guys have the technical power angles fully locked. The line with the nab heelflip opener is so smooth. This whole Euro section is mindblowing – you’ll see lots of never-befores at places you’ve never seen. Can I just say… backside tailslide to 270 flip out (turning with it), at speed on a two-foot high ledge. Thanks.

Cairo Foster is next up and if you’ve seen him skate before, you’ll know that he has one of the most impressive and unique styles out there. And, damn, he’s got pop! Waist-high ledges, walls and handrails are no match for this man. Great music and a nollie flip over a road gap. Oof.
Jeff Lenoce skates to the D.O.C. and gives some solid lines and flippery over big gaps, before Scott Johnston steps up with some trademark SJ smoothness. Rob Welsh is also in this part, making the most difficult manual combinations at Pier 7 look like a walk in the park.
Alex Olson is an angry young man indeed. Misbehaving skateboards incur his wrath, but luckily he has full control over them most of the time. He skates really fast with a lot of confidence, regardless of whether he’s grinding rails, flipping stairs or launching huge ollies on transition. That’s one hell of a large road gap to clear as well…

Ahhh… next up are the Lakai overlords: Rick Howard and Mike Carroll. If you thought they’d stopped skating as much or were in danger of ‘losing’ it, think again. Perfect proof that style speaks for itself. Plenty of great tricks in these two parts… Frontside flip to hurricane? Damn! Carroll’s section in particular is one of my favourites in the entire film.

Brandon Biebel has a really good section, showing his power (which appears to be due to the Redline ‘ultimate energy rush’ drink he consumes at the beginning) and balancing skills. He absolutely kills it. The switch backside tailslide on the waist-high ledge can be watched again and again: it’s solid as hell. He can flip out of grinds better than anyone else out there. Dude seems like a fun guy to go skating with, although he’d make you look stupid with his trick list.
Next up is Koston. You’ll know what to expect from this guy’s section – has he ever had a weak video part? No. Big old flip tricks, smooth lines, handrail technicalities… it’s all here. The fakie tre closer to his part is absolutely massive. And he skates to Public Enemy, which makes it all good with me.

Mariano. Oh man… People have been touting this as his ‘comeback part’ – but watching it, you’d never realise he went away. His first full part since ‘Mouse’, this will satisfy all fans. Unbelievable amount of tricks you won’t have seen before, all pulled off in his unique ‘damn that looks easy to do’ style. Random tricks for you to consider: frontside 180, switch crooked to fakie flip out on a bench. Switch frontside shove-it nosegrind, nollie heel out on the same bench. The best cab flip on a bank since Gino’s on the Beryl banks. Backside tailslide to half cab flip transfer on a spined bank. Noseblunt slide to 270 nollie heel out. I’ve gotta stop there: it’s incredible.

OK… so that’s quite a line-up, right? Who the hell gets curtains after that kind of schedule. Marc Johnson, that’s who. A three-song part absolutely crammed with incredible manual trickery, flip tricks, lines and all kinds of great stuff. He’ll think nothing of doing something like a blunt hardflip out on a bench and then following it up with a 50-50 back-foot kickflip out. Early ’90s tricks are mixed up with the most amazing unseen combinations and lines you’ll have watched in ages. Everything is made to look as easy as hell, he skates with a smile on his face – and it’s the perfect end to the perfect skate film.

Faultless. That’s my review right there: faultless. Best video I’ve seen in years and years. Amazing filming, great use of effects and graphics, inspired music choices… The most amazing 90 minutes of skating you’ll see anytime soon, trust me. If I had a hat on, I’d be doffing it immediately. Do yourself a favour: don’t watch it on YouTube, don’t download it – go and buy it. You need to own this one.

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