By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
Gleaming the Cube is a film produced in the USA by Lawrence Turman and directed by Graeme Clifford in 1989. The name of the movie was inspired by TV-
shows that involved skateboarding terms, like a Simpson's episode when Flanders said to Bart “stop gleaming the cube” after seeing him skateboarding on the sidewalk.
The movie started with a skater named Brian, played by Christian Slater, and his friends having fun and skateboarding. Brian had a brother, Vinh, he was born in Vietnam and because of some difficulties with his biological parents, he was adopted by an American family.
As the slogan of the film says, “All he cared about was gleaming the cube until the night they killed his brother”. The movie is set in California, Vinh used to work for a foundation that helped Vietnamese Victims. One night he unintentionally found the weapons that this organization hid. This proved to be a huge issue.
When Vinh found the weapons, Lawndale and his thugs immediately took him prisoner. They started to hurt and strangle him to get the answers to why he was there. But something went wrong and Vinh died by the thug’s hands, so they had to hang him and make people think that he committed suicide.
We saw in the film classic racist situations that immigrants has to go through if they decide to do a new life in the USA. So this guy, Lawndale, and the Vietnamese organization director turns into the antagonists of this story.
Nothing made sense and Brian knew it, to him his brother could not take the awful decision to take his own life. Which explains the reason why he started to look for an answer to his brother's death.
Brian started his research by going back to the Motel where Vihn died, he saw a Vietnamese man that might know what happened so he got in his car and hid, but this trip was to end badly.
The main actor saw how this man died by a gunshot and quickly learned how important it was gonna be to expose these people. A detective found some weaknesses in the Vinh case as well, so he played an important role in the movie to find the truth.
The Vietnamese organization was being controlled by an American man, so Brian had to cross some limits with the police and the enemy. He had to pretend he left his skateboarding style to get into a Vietnamese circle reaching the director's daughter.
He got into the Vietnamese vault and found the weapons as well, it was full of rifles, ammunition, missiles, M16, and so much more. He decides to continue with his plan and leave his style for a while to be the best influence on Jeez, the director’s daughter.
When he finally achieved the plan to get into the director's house, he decided to make an explosion in the vault and sabotage all the alliance to divide them. He wanted to stop a war where innocent people were dying, like his brother did.
Jeez found out the truth, which pushed Brian to tell Jeez what was going on. She went on to demand of her father that if he was involved with Vinh's death, who admits his involvement and justifies himself saying that it was an accident.
Unfortunately it was too late for him as Lawndale betrayed him by shooting him in his chest, killing him, he then took Jeez by force and started a police chase with the help of Brian's skateboarding crew.
It was an excellent action film, it stands out in displaying the skills of a skateboarder in his entire components, making him the hero. He worked with his crew to fight against the enemy and save Jeez, but also get revenge for his brother’s death.
Skateboarding is always going to help us to confront our fears and emotions, a way to stay with ourselves, always express what we are on our own. The movie showed a lot of thrills and the value of that second family that we find in skateboarding.
Here we got a taste of how skateboarding was perceived in 1989 in Hollywood. The influences of brands like Powell Peralta, Thrasher, and music from the likes of DRI gave skateboarding a notable identity that decade.
The main actor had a double that made an excellent work skating and showing the different techniques and modalities to skateboarding. And the film made an excellent job filming those old school tricks, dragged from a car, onto ramps, descending and skidding.
We also admired the art of skateboarding and the 80s skater's skills to adapt them in each different spot, like Vertical, Pools, Slopes, Streets, Parking Zones and more. The movie didn’t water out the essence of skateboarding. Definitely worth a watch!
Watch the trailer here:
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