F.O.R 4 – An honest review

Future of Rollerblading 4 (F.O.R 4). What could go possibly go wrong in naming your video after one of the greatest video series in the history of rollerblading? Well, quite a lot actually.

A few months back I started seeing adverts on Facebook and Instagram for F.O.R 4. At first I was excited; maybe, just maybe Joe Navran is making a new video. Imagine for a second what that might have looked like… Excitement quickly turned to skepticism when I realised that Erick Rodriguez was helming this project. I wanted to believe it could be a worthy addition to the series, I really did. Over the next few months I enjoyed the promotional material that appeared; lifestyle and location shots overlaid with the names of all of the skaters that would appear in the production. In style it looked like the cover of a Hollywood movie, so far so good.

I genuinely enjoyed the F.O.R 4 promotional material

The final piece of promotion that I heard before the videos release was a podcast with Mr Rodriguez himself on the TOOEASY Podcast 2. Now one of the most interesting anecdotes that he gave concerned some unseen tapes from the F.O.R 2 days. Apparently as the story goes, Joe Navran had so many tapes that he only used a handful for the original video. Erick went on to explain that the footage was being digitised and could appear edited or otherwise alongside the release of F.O.R 4. I will admit to being more excited about the (future) prospect of seeing these clips than the new film itself. To cut a long story short, this rare footage is not included in the download of F.O.R 4. Too bad. Another thing that was mentioned was the fact that Joe Navran himself was on board with the F.O.R 4 project, this led me to believe he could possibly oversee the project, perhaps test it for quality control. For now I still don’t know in what capacity Joe’s involvement was, perhaps it was just in name alone? (I have asked E-Rod for clarification and will update this review if he gets back to me).

Dre Powell, still dropping huge tricks after decades on the blades

The video was released to some considerable groans of ‘It costs 20 bucks, man’. Well guess what, that’s how much videos and DVDs used to cost back in the day. ‘Well yeah but at least you got a physical copy, and the videographer needs to cover the costs of the production, packaging and distribution’. This kind of conversation happens all to often and who really cares, Erick Rodriguez charged 20 dollars for the video and that’s what we have to pay to watch it.

I want to start out this review by being completely clear with you. I didn’t finish the video on the first attempt, in fact it’s taken me two sittings to get through the whole thing. Why? Was I interrupted, yes, was I a little bored, yes, did I despise the soundtrack? Yes, could this 30 minute video hold my attention, no. Is it me? Am I the problem? Well just to let you know that I have really enjoyed a lot of recent online video content, including OK.4 and The Chinatown video Paycheck. To add to that, I don’t love or look up to this modern wave of skating in these videos, I actually find it entertaining to see the new and inventive ways people find to skate the streets. I’m more of a Brain Fear Gone guy, I love the stunts, the personalities and the old fashioned swagger of yesteryears heroes, that’s true. So I was possibly hoping for a little of this in F.O.R 4.

Erick gave various project updates as the video progressed.

What is good in the video? A solid 30 minute duration with a lot of good skating in the video from series OG staples including Dre Powell and Franky Morales. They maintain that heavy hitting swagger and personality with big, standard, solid tricks with the kind of style that only 20 plus years on the blades can define. Then there is amazing skating from Julian Bah, Nick Lomax, Eugen Enin and Victor Arias. They skate fast, technical, do big and small tricks and make everything look really easy. There is a lot to take away from watching these guys. There are no specific profiles like in the last three videos which is a shame as I would have loved to see full parts on the guys named above. The video is rounded out with some solid yet unmemorable skating which leads me onto the bad points.

The trailer was the intro (see below), i’ve never been a fan of that and nothing more to add. No skater names, okay this is a fairly small point but in this day and age it just feels lazy to not include the skater names on each trick. It is possible to work out 90% of the famous bladers but there are a few who I wasn’t sure of and I feel by adding their name Erick could have given credence to the ‘Future’ in the title of F.O.R. The music is simply annoying to me and I think this video would be better viewed on mute and put on your own musical playlist, of course this is personal choice, but if you have seen previous 9TO5DigiMedia productions you will probably already know what i’m talking about.

In terms of production, it has that modern high gloss high definition picture that digital SLR cameras provide, it’s not gritty and it’s certainly not raw. This video suffers from a lack of zoom. I have no problem with HD footage and I love the videos of Adam Johnson, David Sizemore and Ivan Narez for example. There is quite a lot of drone footage, some of it looks nice but I don’t like drone clips where Erick tries to film a trick while flying, it’s just distracting, I find myself wondering how many tries things took rather than the actual trick itself. The editing is fine, but occasionally some shots feel short and abrupt and the sections don’t really blend together that well, again this is really a personal preference. I also felt that the video ended too abruptly. Maybe i’m too old school and expect a certain style of presentation for a skate video. Some of the sections were really short and it felt as though the clips were filmed over a very short space of time.

New York clip check

All in all I thought the video was okay. I will never watch it all the way through again but that’s modern life for you. However I will still watch F.O.R 2 at least once or twice a year. Some people might think that I am ‘hating on the industry’ but this is my completely honest review. I think we should all stand up for what we enjoy but also voice our opinion on things we think can be improved. It doesn’t feel at all a part of the F.O.R series.

As a final word I can’t help but imagine what a video like F.O.R 2 would have looked like if it had been produced with today’s technology and social media…#FOR2 #partyandbullshit #rachard #deltron #abdiel #fp #theblindstaresofamillionpairsofeyes #dl #petty #feinberg #shima. NH.

Bonus fact: There was some awful name spelling on the Sellfy description (Thanks Jon Lee):

Chris Framer only had one trick in the video



2 thoughts on “F.O.R 4 – An honest review

  1. Exactly my opinion after watching F.O.R. 4. You also did not mention enough that appart from Lomax and Enin, all the big names have just a few tricks in the video, the rest is just Bladergang everyday crew (Julian Bah and Dre Powell are the only ones good enough to be in a F.O.R. video). I have to admit that Tim Franken was a really good surprise to me, with solid, difficult and stylish tricks.

    Can’t wait to read your review about Delfon Dio, as I still don’t believe how awesome it was to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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