Caleb, a delinquent teenager who wants to make it big in the skateboard scene, has his world rocked when his single mother slips into a coma, thus threatening his financial security and very existence. Desperate, Caleb sets out to search for his long lost biological father with some hope that he may want to take him in. But when his father acts like he doesn’t care, Caleb is further driven into darkness, immersing himself in the world of skateboarding and drugs as his mother’s condition grows worse. Little does he know that the only way to escape the darkness around him is to face the darkness inside of himself.
Production Quality (1.5 points)
For a PureFlix distributed film, the production quality of Hardflip is decent, but not above average. The video and sound quality are both clear, but the music levels are very inconsistent—sometimes blaringly loud and other times too silent. The camera angles are sometimes interesting and artistic and other times unprofessional. The editing is all over the map, probably due to the small amount of plot content. There is a lot of artistic potential in this film, but it is often drowned out by the high music content. Overall, the production is back and forth and is unfortunately most positive section of the movie.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
Hardflip has a vast amount of potential that is not tapped into. The plot structure is very unique and not typical of these types of movies. There is good artistic material and musical overlays, but the music sequences are too long and too many in content. There are some interesting psychological and abstract elements, but they are lost among the negative issues. These include cheap dialogue and many wasted filler scenes. The skateboarding subplot is not properly developed and only contributes an air of unprofessionalism. The end is slightly unpredictable, but it is difficult to reach that point. In short, where some movies have no potential, Hardflip has plenty of it. Unfortunately, it is not used properly and is wasted.
Acting Quality (.5 point)
John Schneider has cheesy delivery of his lines and Randy Wayne looks older than he’s supposed to be. This is not necessarily their fault—there is really no acting coaching present in this film. The cast is small, but it has more potential than most casts. All of the skateboard actors seem amateurish. In summary, the acting keeps with the theme of Hardflip and never reaches its ceiling.
The theme of this film is wasted potential. The idea behind Hardflip is more creative than most, and the music adds an interesting element to it. But the music’s overuse seems to indicate that there is not enough plot content to sustain a nearly two-hour film. This movie needed an additional writer to come alongside the original writers and help craft and synthesize the subplots better. The characters need to be fleshed out, perhaps through flashbacks. The music needs to be brought to a happy medium. In short, Hardflip needs a remake because it would be a shame to let these good ideas go to waste.
Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points
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This plot certainly had a lot of potential to be a poignant character driven story about coping with loss and mistakes of the past. However this potential was not fully explored and the final product is not all it could have been.
Although the plot does have some good twists and turns the writers should have replaced most of the skateboard music video sequences with dialogue that built the characters and their relationships. The viewer is more likely to remember this movie as the one with all the skateboard scenes than anything else.
The acting is not too bad, John Schneider is in one of his stronger roles here and he is cast well in the part. It is unclear how old Randy Wayne’s character is meant to be although there are indications that he is a teenager. If this is the case then the fact that Wayne looks a bit older than that is distracting.
This is not one of those terrible Christian movies that is unwatchable and the creators should be commended for a good effort here, I just wish it was a little better.
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In my opinion the movie could have been a lot better if they had left out the whole skateboarding plot. This is obviously just a way to fill in the gaps without writing a longer script.
There’s nothing wrong with its inclusion, but it’s overemphasized.