Gleaming the Cube Review

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When Brian Kelly's (Slater) apopted brother is brutally murdered and the act is dressed up as a suicide, Brian and his skate crew freeweheel, quip and trick (impressively, it has to be said) their way to the truth.


Just what the world needed, a skateboarding vigilante movie. Slater plays a punk who's no good at anything that doesn't involve a skateboard, but ignores the cop on the case (Steven Bauer) who justifiably keeps telling him not to interfere. He romances the dead kid's Asian girlfriend (Le Tuan) in an attempt to get the goods on her father - who is mixed up in the killing - and turns from a boring no-good slob into a boring clean-cut preppie.

In a scene evidently supposed to be an emotional climax to compare with Ray Milland refusing a drink in The Lost Weekend or Gary Cooper throwing away his badge in High Noon, the kid even consents to leave his board at home and walk somewhere. However, he climbs back on a special model for the big chase at the end.

This is one of those movies that seems to have been stuck together like a model kit. It has enough skateboarding footage to fill out a half hour time-waster documentary, enough plot for a low-grade kiddie adventure movie, enough insight into the Californian Vietnamese community for a two-minute news filler on a slow night, enough teen pouting and angst for an MTV spot, and enough family crises for the pre-credits sequence of a suburban soap.

Slater is a blandly rebellious hero, and his hymns to skateboarding as the last bastion of freedom are pretty hilarious. It gets mechanically exciting in the contrived action scene at the end, but its overall ordinariness - compounded by lacklustre villains, inoffensive rock music and nary a whiff of sex or sleaze - becomes extraordinarily wearisome long before that.

Performances, plot and landings are nailed down, but there's not enough invention here for the film to achieve cult status.