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Review: 'Until the Wheels Fall Off' offers unflinching look at Tony Hawk

Tokyo Olympics Skateboarding
Posted at 2:40 PM, Apr 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 17:45:40-04

(KERO) — Tony Hawk is arguably the most-well known and respected skateboarder in the world. In fact, whether you're familiar with the sport or not you've heard of him.

It's also hard to squeeze in a more than 40 year career in skateboarding into a slightly longer than two hour documentary. Yet that's what the HBO Max "Tony Hawk: Until the Wheel Falls Off" (airing at 9 p.m. Tuesday, April, 5th) hopes to pull off.

It also makes director Sam Jones' task a large one: how do you tell the story of Hawk's ascent into popular culture while still entertaining skaters who know his history well?

Jones uses footage that has been rarely seen, and in some cases never been seen. There's also the fresh perspective of contemporaries like Christian Hosoi as well as fellow Bones Brigade icons Steve Cabellero, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen and Tommy Guerrero.

The documentary starts off with Hawk trying to land one final 900 so he can retire the trick from his arsenal. Needless to say Hawk battles through it. Even when it's not going well.

Skaters and fans of his will come away impressed with his persistence and tenacity. But Tony also lets the audience in on a secret: Fame can be a double-edged sword.

Jones does a great job humanizing Hawk. He's not super human and has suffered through numerous injuries. He has personal regrets.

The big arc comes after a heavy slam at the recreated Animal Chin ramp at Woodward West in Tehachapi. Without giving too much away, it's an emotional jarring thing to see.

It's also something important to keep in mind: skateboarding is difficult and dangerous. It's something all skaters accept and sign up for. Even those that transcend the sport and have pushed it forward for more than 40 years.

The documentary will also be available to stream on HBO Max.