Film Reviews | Mountain Sledder
Dave Best | On 12, Dec 2012
The fact is that this is the 11th film in the franchise is evidence enough that there is a sizeable following for big Jim Phelan’s productions. If there’s one thing to say about the latest iteration is that it just feels fun, plain and simple. You can tell the Thunderstruck crew doesn’t take themselves too seriously, although you might question why after the first 50 seconds of intro, which contains more heart-stopping carnage than in all the other films we watched combined. This film is all about riding pow and hang-on-for-dear-life hill climbing. It doesn’t have the biggest pros, Phelan doesn’t seem to own a tripod, and the soundtrack consists of a never-ending string of Nickleback imposters, but Team Thunderstruck doesn’t seem to care about any of that. They just keep on doing what they love, and having a helluva good time in the process.
- Produced & Directed by: Jim Phelan
- Running Time: 84 min.
This film scored highly on our list as a solid all-rounder. The overall production value is probably the best of the group, with a multitude of jib-crane, dolly and helicopter shots. It did feel somewhat inconsistent at times however, as some segments were clearly better produced than others. Super slow-motion footage shot on the RED camera is outstanding, especially during a sick heli-booter session, but it does feel a little overdone by the end. In terms of the riding, there are loads of exciting freeriding and amazing deep pow sequences, with only some hill-climbing that the film would not have suffered from cutting. The soundtrack is a decent mix of indie rock and dub-step that is thankfully shy on excessiveengine noises, like are prevalent in some other films. Overall, with the exception of a few questionable cinematic choices, the film is great and I’m already looking forward to seeing what Yribar can producefor Volume 8 with another season under his belt.
- Produced by: 509
- Directed by: Phil Yribar
- Running Time: 60 min.
Fourcast II is an awesome, well-rounded movie showcasing a high-level of almost every aspect of mountain sledding. Those who want a good gauge of the level of riding these days would be well served by buying this movie. There is sweet footage of hill climbing, boondocking, booters, cliffs, step-ups and natural airs in the flick and the editing is solid. Unlike many other movies, which assault a viewer with genre overkill, Fourcast II keeps the variety flowing. Each genre often only gets a single segment. Troy Lakusta’s hill climbing section may be the best of the year in that category and Keith Curtis’s segment is just plain impressive, as he rips the snot out of everything he touches; we only wish he had shredded pow, too. The move, unfortunately, doesn’t have a lot of deep, deep powder, and some of the voice-over comes across flat, if not strange, but it’s still a must-see movie this year.
- Produced & Directed by: Jorli Ricker
- Executive Producer: Bryan Watts
- Running Time: 46 min.
Boondockers 9 is a fun film full of air, pow, trees and good times. The crew lives up to their namesake and the giv’r levels in this movie stay high throughout. There’s a lot of below alpine footage in this movie and a lot of deep powder. Be prepared to watch a lot of wrong foot forward side-hilling through the trees. There’s also some gnarly, low-tide take-off cliff airs that are huge. Hill climbing aficionados may not get their fix from this one and the production level is not as high as some other movie houses’. There’s also very little female representation. Rider ‘Phatty’ owns it in several disciplines and stands out amongst a solid pack of shredders. The movie has some interesting POW angles that keep things fresh, but the production wanders a bit, especially in their ‘river’ section, which comes off melodramatic and out of place. Overall it’s a good watch, but probably not the best purchase if you’re only buying one movie this year. Some of the best footage in this movie is also in Volume 7.
- Produced by: Dan Gardiner, Andrew McCarthy & Geoff Dyer
- Executive Producer: Dave Napier
- Running Time: 44 min.
2 STROKE COLD SMOKE 15
2SCM15 hits viewers hard for 37 minutes with a formula of pumpy music and hundreds of quality shots. This is the movie for air and powder freaks and bar owners who want a good flick playing on their screens. The movie is jam-packed with footage from Western Canada and Alaska. Hill climbers and Boondockers will be mostly left wanting, but those who like powder won’t be. 2SCM15 has the best selection of alpine freeriding this year, brought to you be an onslaught of rippers like Dan Treadway, Rob Alford and Chris Brown just to name a few. Beyond the mountain ripping, there is a heavy dose of booter airs that are big and tricky. Heath Frisby and Cory Davis (whip master) send it as usual and Ashley Chaffin’s segment is probably the best female one of the year. The freeriding and the jumping comes off as distinctively different segments, and the overall movie suffers from this gap. If you’re a big mountain fiend, the barrage of jumps at the end will take away from how much you liked the beginning. It ends with a fun crash reel.
- Produced by: Aaron Van Hessinger & Andy Baugh
- Running Time: 42 min.
The latest from the premiere crew in sled films is another outstanding effort across the board. A myriad of high quality shots including helicopter, sled dolly, and super smooth pan/tilts are expertly cut for a fast-paced, high energy experience. There are also some nice scenic shots, but the film proceeds quickly into the action without getting bogged down. With the exception of an overused film-burning effect in the Carly Davis segment, the film looks top notch. The soundtrack, kicked off with a custom title track, is a healthy mix of hard rock and bass-heavy electrica including big names like Bad Religion and KMFDM. And with a slew of the biggest names in sledding, the diverse tight technical tree riding and insane freeriding will blow your mind. Powder hounds will get their fix, but like most other films this year, hill climbers may be left wanting. However, it’s pretty unlikely anyone will walk away from this one feeling unsatisfied.
- Produced by: Jason Moriarty & John Keegan
- Directed by: Jason Moriarty
- Running Time: 54 min.