We got pro skateboaders to rank the best and worst skate scenes in movies
Who is the better skater: Vin Diesel or Marty McFly?
Bob Burnquist and Rune Glifberg are skateboarding royalty - and even if you aren't a massive skater, you might just know them from the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games. Which is convenient, as this week sees the long-awaited release of the THPS 1+ 2 remastered games (which both Bob and Rune appear in).
Ahead of the game's release, we caught up with Bob and Rune and got them to watch some of the most memorable skateboarding scenes from movies. Some of them - like Mid 90s and Lords of Dogtown - are proper films made by genuine skaters, that really try to capture the culture. Others, well, feature Jackie Chan skating out of an office building or Vin Diesel grinding a bus. And one of them is even about a real-life skateboarding chimp.
The Amazing Spider-Man
The 2012 Spider-Man reboot saw Andrew Garfield play a Peter Parker that was more into skateboarding and brooding wistfully, than doing science.
Bob Burnquist: As a kid I loved Spider-Man, and knowing that he skated back then, he would have been my favourite superhero.
I did wonder how that board was sticking to his feet though, and then [I remembered] he’s Spider-Man, so it would.
Rune Glifberg: There’s definitely some weird animation going on here that doesn’t look great.
Bob: That nose manual was not good. They totally missed an opportunity to make this clip actually pretty good with the skating.
Rune: That ollie was way too big at the end there. That stuff was overdone. Too much animation going on. Too fake.
Bob: When they go to the skate stuff, they get way too antsy with the editing, when they could let it breathe.
MVP 2: Most Vertical Primate
Bob Burnquist had a cameo in this kids movie about a skateboarding chimp. The chimp played ice hockey in the first MVP, in case you were wondering.
Bob Burnquist: I did a movie with this chimp that skated, and he skated in my house when we were doing the promotion for the movie. And the chimp could ride. That was pretty cool just because it was unique.
There were two chimps actually – they taught the first one but they get to a certain age and they can’t interact that much because they get super bitey – I guess when they mature they start fighting or whatever. So they trained another one, the chimp’s son.
They had this weird thing, where the shoe was attached to the board, so he could put this foot in there and turn. All that is him, all for real. He did a backside ollie on my ramp, I was tripping.
There’s mixed reactions and feelings to this, because you have to train a chimp to skate, and whatever they have to go through, it’s not necessarily natural to them. It’s close to like a circus animal or something. It seemed like he was having fun, so it didn’t feel weird. He seemed to enjoy skating.
Jonah Hill’s directorial debut follows a young teenager who falls in with a group of skate kids in 1990s LA.
Rune Glifberg: I thought Mid 90s was cool. It’s good to get skateboarding out in the broader audience I think, but there were still some of the cliches. Just like [being chased by] the security guards, scenes where they’re gripping the board – some of these things that you have to have in a skateboarding movie. But it was definitely a sick movie.
Bob Burnquist: Yeah, it definitely goes more toward the legitimacy. It seemed like they weren’t cutting and doing crazy editing and getting all cheesy.
Rune: The integrity of skateboarding was kept high.
Bob: Some skateboarder’s eye was on that, for sure.
Rune: The skateboarding was good and true, but it was a little bit too good for the 1990s. Like, if they really wanted it to look like the 90s, they could have had shittier pop, and made their tricks look a little bit more sketchy.
Some of it was a little bit too good. But that’s probably just us, people that skated in the 1990s, actually knowing how it felt back then, and how skateboarding then.
Bob: It’s really hard to do that. I remember doing a demo with Tony Hawk and him saying "Now it’s only 1980s tricks!" It’s really hard to hold back!
Rune: Definitely different techniques that people were using back then.
Back To The Future
The classic 1980s time-travel comedy features probably the most famous skateboard chase in movie history.
Rune Glifberg: He’s got double trucks on there, like rollerskates. There’s eight wheels on that board.
Bob Burnquist: I never noticed that actually! You just gave me a whole new view on this!
Rune: This is actually right around the time I started skateboarding. I started in 1986.
Bob: And it is pretty legit, when you look at it now.
Marty McFly jumps a whole car.
Bob: That was sick! Ahh, there’s a cut though, I don’t know if that really went down. You’ve got to replicate this one for real, Rune.
Bob: Even the way he popped that jump, that is all legit right here. And this is a movie where they could go really cheesy, it could go really bad by not doing it right. I think Michael J Fox is the first skateboarding movie hero.
Rune: I think it was (skating pioneer) Per Welinder actually, that was the stunt double.
This classic 1993 Jackie Chan film features a skateboard chase full of Chan’s trademark stunts.
Rune Glifberg: It’s funny, because I always thought that Jackie Chan did all his own stunts, but it didn’t look like he did his own stunts in that one. There were some like skyhooks and bindings involved in there.
Bob Burnquist: Jackie Chan can do everything.
JOE: Out of ten, how realistic was that?
Bob: Zero. Minus nine.
Rune: I think like he definitely did some of his own stunts there, but he’s on rollerskates for a lot of that.
Bob: Some of their slams are pretty legit on the hood of the cars. That seemed like it hurt. The cruising through traffic, I thought that was pretty cool, and then it got way too weird.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The third xXx movie involves Vin Diesel taking part in a ridiculous, but very fun, downhill skateboard chase.
Rune Glifberg: Oh, this is Vin Diesel?
Bob Burnquist: Oh my god. There’s some pretty gnarly Brazilian dudes who do the downhill slides on flat stuff.
Bob: Sergio Yuppie is his name.
Vin Diesel rides up against a school bus.
Rune: That was right out of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater right there!
Bob: I think there’s a balance that these movies have a hard time making. They could have gotten away with something a lot cooler if it stayed within real stunts, within what the stunt people are capable of.
But when some guy has an idea to make him ride the side of the bus, then that goes out. That’s the way I see it. But obviously it’s a movie, it’s Vin Diesel, so let’s get cheesy with it.
Lords of Dogtown
This Heath Ledger-starring drama explores the origins of modern skateboarding in the 1970s.
Bob Burnquist: See, this is going to be legit as you get. Those are some rad shots. [Pro skater] Lance Mountain was doing the skate consulting so you are going to see this is a lot more legit. This is one of my favourite movies right here.
Rune Glifberg: It’s good to tell a little bit of the history of what happened back then, but I also feel like it's played up a little bit too much. There’s a lot of drama going on at the same time. It seems a little exaggerated how excited they are about riding on the skateboard, constantly grabbing the board from one another, throwing beer all around.
Bob: Sometimes Hollywood movies [feel] they need to keep taking it up and up, where if it stayed down here it would feel more real. I think in general this movie captured it. The actors were good, and the skate scenes are good.
It’s finally like a good skate movie. Not like the Jackie Chan style or the Vin Diesel thing. It’s just way more in tune to the soul.
I really give credit to the actors diving in, because it’s easy to come across fake. It’s more about the attitude than what tricks you were doing – how you grab your board or hold your hat.
It’s also a little easier to do [1970s skating on-screen] than the 1990s, I feel like that like actors that can barely skate can at least skate that much.
JOE: So which was your favourite?
Rune: I definitely thought the Jackie Chan one was my favourite, just because it is so wacky and out there.
Bob: And it’s Jackie Chan. Can’t hate on Jackie Chan.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is released on Xbox One, PS4 and PC on September 4th