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Stoked - The Rise and Fall of Gator Review

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Documentary chronicling the rise and fall of golden-boy skater Mark Gator Rogowski. After years of living the high life, Gator went spectacularly off the rails and is now serving life in prison for murder.

★★★★★

Perhaps it was not intended to serve as a sequel to the fabulous Dogtown And Z-Boys, but Helen Stickler’s documentary does pick up where Stacey Peralta left off, following skateboarding into the ’80s boom.

As such, Stoked is pretty successful — if stylistically less ambitious — demonstrating how commercialism slowly destroyed the original Dogtown spirit, while many talented boarders got derailed by groupies, drugs and dollars.

However, Stickler has another story to tell, that of Mark ‘Gator’ Rogowski, a brilliant skater who flew higher than most and fell the farthest of all. You can see why Stickler was drawn to the charismatic Gator, but his story is so extreme (he is serving life for murder) that it effectively unbalances the project, and the two halves of the story — the changing sport and its troubled star — do not quite fit together.