When I read the little description of Deck Dogz, I thought it sounded like a Stand By Me with skateboarders... and it does have it's similarities, as it's about three kids who take a road trip to a specific destination, but it also differs in a lot of ways. In Stand By Me, there was a real bonding between friends, real life-lessons learned throughout the journey. Deck Dogz, on the other hand, was severely lacking in this department. It didn't seem like there was any growing or real character development throughout their travels. When one of the skaters gets injured by means of a rusty nail through his foot, his friends help him out by taking him to the mall to get a new pair of shoes. I expected some maybe a hospital, maybe they would learn something from that experience... but nope, not really. Not even a little emotional bonding.
And on that train of thought, I'd like to also point out that in Stand By Me, we really got invested in the kids, whereas Deck Dogz isn't quite able to pull us in like that. The film makers try to make us feel that these teens are getting a bad rap just because they're skateboarders, when in reality these teens actually do deserve their bad rap. They skate where skateboarding is prohibited, and I'm not just talking about the outside of buildings, but also like in the halls of school. How are you going to skateboard in the halls of the school and then say you didn't do anything wrong? Or working on their skateboards in the middle of class. Or running out of class to skateboard away from a teacher that's trying to confiscate your board? Or breaking into the school at night to steal back the confiscated board? Oh yeah, and then stealing the principle's precious lighter and accidentally burning down the school. And we're supposed to be rooting for these kids?
Now, now, I know by this point it must sound like I hated this movie, but I didn't. I actually enjoyed it, but it just didn't have what it needed to bring it past the average mark. Some of the skateboarding stunts were cool, but it's nothing I haven't seen before on TV, nothing that went into the "wow, that's awesome" range. Anyway, I suppose I should get on with actually telling you about the film. Three (what looks to be middle school aged) skateboarders, Jay "Spasm" Filkins, Robert "Poker" Benardi, and Phong "Blue Flame" Trang, call themselves the Deck Dogz. They are all obsessed with skateboarding, and knowing that they would never be able to get their parents to take them, they plan a trip to some skateboarding competition where Tony Hawk will pick something like three people to sponsor. Even though all three looked like they were talented skaters, apparently only one of them has the talent to pull off some super awesome move that would be sure to get them sponsored... even though he's never been able to do the move before.
Anyway, so like the day before they're scheduled to leave, Jay, the only one of them that can pull of the trick that he has never pulled off, doesn't that whole getting in trouble and getting his board confiscated thing that I mentioned earlier. Yeah... that kids got some brains... now if he could just find them and put them inside his skull, he might actually be okay. Oh yeah, and he refuses to skate at the competition with any other board that his precious... which is locked in the school. Okay, now it just sounds like your making excuses. How important is getting sponsored to you anyways?! So his friends break into the school, do the whole thievery thing I mentioned earlier, and accidentally turn on a gas valve which later causes the school to catch fire and burn down. Of course, by the time that happens, they've already left on their journey.
While on their quest, the troupe fails to notice a car that has been following them. And inside the car? A couple guys who want to "talk" with Robert's older brother... and by "talk" I mean beat up and/or kill. This is just a minor subplot that really doesn't have anything to do with the journey, but serves simply to put a little action in during the third act and to help clear the boarders name at the end. Oh yeah, and also trying to track down the boys are two cops, who really seem to act more like cop parodies that actual police officers, but then who knows, maybe that's what it's like in Australia.
The extra features on the DVD are much like the film itself, not bad, but nothing special. They include a Making-Of featurette, one deleted scene, an alternate ending, an animation featurette, a Tony Hawk featurette, a Special Effects featurette, and a few others. The movie was written and directed by Steve Pasvolsky, and stars Sean Kennedy as Jay "Spasm" Filkins, Richard Wilson as Robert "Poker" Benardi, and Ho Thi Lu as Phong "Blue Flame" Trang. It was released by Anchor Bay on DVD starting July 25, 2006.