DVD Review “VALO4LIFE”

          It took me a bit longer than I had anticipated to write up this dvd review but in the end all I hope is that you will read this and hopefully be encouraged to pick up this great dvd. I apologize for the length of this review but my early aspirations of becoming a writer has never left my blood.

SUAS DVD Review: “VALO4LIFE”

Prologue: I am a sucker for the little extras like this, to me this is the most important part of Valo4Life since it ties together everything Jon Julio has done thus far within his rolling career and with Valo. JJ plays the narrative role with a visual history of his career, accomplishments, his thoughts that lead to the creation of Valo, some of his earliest worries about the company and much more. This serves as a great introduction to the Valo Brand and to the Valo4Life DVD itself.

Intro: There are no opening tricks in the Intro but there doesn’t have to be since this is a nice mellow montage taking us on a journey to all the places that the Valo team visited while on tour for 2 years. The instrumental is a smooth piano infused track that provides a nice relaxing platform for the various images displayed from around the world. This is a nice introduction to the family-like atmosphere that surrounds the team everywhere they go while giving us snippets of each riders’ diverse personality.

Valo Europe Tour 2010 (Portugal ): Jon’s narration about the formation of the team and what they mean to him starts this off, but if this section doesn’t influence you to go out there and travel then you must be complacent with where you are. Dribbles of the stylish skating from the Valo Team can be seen mixed in with the lifestyle clips that I enjoy. Just looking at the various people that they meet, skate shops they visit, places that they skate, food that they eat and all of that good stuff makes me want to pick up my skates and head to Europe for a month or 2. Erik Bailey teaches Soichiro a colorful new phrase in English, a toothless drunk man speaks in pure jibberish and Erik stepping in human feces are just some of the laughter that will ensue while watching this feel-good section.

Soichiro Kanashima: Soichiro’s opening trick is so damn stylish that it could be in a section of its own. NOBODY Back Royales like Soichiro…NOBODY. The man has style for days…weeks, months and years too! Soichiro definitely came correct with his section. Everything he skates he kills easily and with his trademark style it’s a no-brainer why he was made Valo Pro. And by looking at the random clips of his off-skating antics you can tell that he is an all-around hilarious person to roll with. Go Soichiro!

Dean Coward / Ross Kuhn: This is a shared-section from 2 great rollerbladers that are part of the future of rolling. Dean’s section opens up with the classic Valo hotline in which he was asked “What kind of metal are you into?”; a question he was more than happy to answer which instantly bleeds into his section. It’s a bit short but Dean packed a good variety of tricks his section. Ross’s portion is short as well but his creative skating definitely keeps the vibe going and is a great representation of the Portland, Oregon rolling scene. These two get better and better with each clip.

Montreal: Valo Rock Band? Yes, I said VALO ROCK BAND. No, they are not putting out a V4L group effort on the Them Goods record label but the opening scene in this Montreal Tour section starts off with Tien Nguyen wailing to the tunes on the screen with Brandon Smith on guitar and Austin Paz on the drums. It’s cool seeing the bonding moments like this when you are in a country foreign to your own. And don’t worry JJ himself gets on the guitar to get his Rock Band on as well.

          But, aside from the tunes the Valo Team is skating it up in Montreal which is easily one of my favorite places to visit. My memories there are all great and this section makes me want to go back to Canada so bad. The beautiful landscapes will entrap you if you ever get the chance to go out there so definitely jump at the chance. The antics in here keep the entertaining vibe going with Ivan N. stealing a huge industrial-size toilet paper roll from some food shop bathroom stall and Mr. Broskow striking a ballet inspired flash dance pose for an eager photographer.

Franco Cammayo: Franco’s section opens up with a mob of NYC chanting his name over and over while waiting for this Staten Island Legend to lace as he usually does and then bleeds into Franco’s insight on what traveling means to him which is a nice touch. Enter the skating…Franco has always been one of my favorite skaters. He is creative and throws in many touches of his originality to pretty much all of his tricks. He doesn’t disappoint at all and showcases a nice variety of new weapons in his rolling arsenal. Of course he has a little funny fall in the beginning but he takes it like the warrior that he is. I just wish that it was longer. His section keeps you wanting more and maybe that’s a good thing because now I can’t wait to see where his skating goes next.

Amsterdam / Australia: The tour now brings us to Amsterdam which looks very beautiful by the way, where we find the Valo Team biking their way through the terrain with a cool bike cam following their every facial expression. I do wonder who knocked that poor lady off of her bike and if anybody helped her up haha. The team is mostly killing some huge purple bowl built in the middle of some town but their infectious enjoyment of their surroundings is contagious.

          Australia is the next stop and you can’t wrong in a place where there is a mini ramp built into somebody’s living room. I’m serious…I did a double take! Valo takes Australia by storm skating on some of the most fun looking obstacles that I have seen in awhile. I live for new spots and Australia has plenty of them. And dare I mention that there are new clips of Australian Legends such as Josh Pinkus, Dion Anthony and Blake Dennis as well? … Amazing.

Brandon Smith: Brandon Smith immediately gets a co-sign from Australian Legend Dion Anthony leading into his section. It seems Brandon’s robotic trick precision has left a lasting impression on the Aussie. Now, don’t hate me for this Brandon but to me it seemed like he was holding back a small bit in this section. But, I don’t hate him at all since besides skating for his section he has a lot on his plate with assisting with the filming, photography, editing and more. There are some nice big tricks mixed in throughout but not enough in my view to showcase Mr. Roboto in all of his electronical glory…then again, I may be a bit selfish since I love his skating. Brandon is every bit as stylish as he ever was so you’ll be impressed.

Support: This is a nice section featuring some hungry up and comers & Ams showing their unique skating abilities on some creative terrain while supporting Valo. The first portion of talent is lead by Gavin Drumm, Andrew Jacuzzi, Erik Stokely & Keaton Newsom. Then a nice intermission is inserted showing exactly why the Valo Brand has a huge loyal following. The Valo Team delivers a rollerbladers’ order right to his doorstep in person! Now that is customer service at it’s finest. The Valo Support section blends back in with a fury of tricks from Mike Obedoza, Kare Lindberg, Craig Brocklhurst, Cameron Talbott, Matt Ladewski & Michael Collins.

Victor Arias: There are 2 major things that Victor Arias does that stands out when compared to other skaters. It’s his amazing balance and unique switch-up vocabulary. And this section has nice examples of both. Victor ‘s skating is easy on the eyes and he makes skating look good which is a key to luring outsiders in to view our sport. All I want to know is how do you keep such good balance on curved rails with Front Savannah’s? Damn you Victor!

Montage: I don’t know what to say about Montages. They are a good break from sections but they are not really my favorite part of rolling dvd’s. Nevertheless, pretty much every dvd has them so I look at it anyways. This montage wasn’t too bad to tell you the truth. It has a who’s who of rollerblading so you can’t go wrong. And I have 1 word to convince you to look at this…CHAMPION. That’s right, Champion B. represented with a few clips as well. Not to mention Vinny Minton, Tien Nguyen, Pat Lennon, B-Free, Chris Haffey, a bulked up Erik Garcia and I’m not going to ruin it by mentioning anybody else…but there are some nice surprises in there.

Cosimo Tassone: Seeing Cosimo start of his section by eating buffalo wings at Hooters I instantly knew that this section was going to be a good time. Cossimo is such a solid skater that it’s scary. He skates with a relaxing confidence that displays years of practice and assurance in his talents. He goes big as we all expect him to but he does have some nice surprises up his sleeve with a mixture of even more creativity that goes great with his ballsy style.

Barcelona: A male ballerina popping out of a random cardboard box in the middle of the street when you press a button and .75 cent beer from walking distributors is just a sample of the great time that Barcelona is. The team looked like they had the time of their lives here and it’s so infectious that you want to jump right through the screen and  join them. The vibe over there is amazing with spots that seem to be created by skaters for skaters. Everybody needs to visit this place at least a few times in your life. I’m getting my passport ready and going on a vacation soon so Barcelona here I come.

Erik Bailey: Erik is a beast and this section is beast-mode. Erik has done it all and shows no sign of slowing down. He has some slick switch-ups that will catch you off-guard and make you want to step your own game up a few levels…because Erik certainly did. And that is scary because he doesn’t really need to improve in any area. This section has it all. He laces rails, ledges, gaps, transfers, wall rides and switch-ups on just about every type of obstacle. After seeing this section you will wonder what in the world can’t he do?

Alex Broskow: Watching Alex Broskow skate is a breath of fresh air in a land of tap dancing on rails and spin to win skaters. This section is definitely an eye-opener. It is flooded with some nice creativity showing why he one of the most versatile skaters out there. And if you don’t believe me than why else would he have a double-section? Simple…because the kid is a clip machine. Sometimes a double-section can be overkill but in this case it justifies the skating that is Alex Broskow. All I can say is damn he can skate. I purely loved this section and I guarantee you will as well.

Jon Julio: The H.N.I.C. of Valo saves himself for last to close out this team dvd. Before I get into his section I just wanted to say that it infuriates me when I hear people complaining about JJ’s Topsouls. So the f*ck what? The man is a LEGEND and has done more for this sport than 99% of the people in it. He can do whatever he wants, when he wants. This section is packed with creative rail to wallrides, his signature topsouls…BUT…he throws in a mixed bag of tricks to show that he can still throw down when he wants and throw down he does. Jon always impresses me and he will go down and one of the most influential. Definitely some surprises in here for everybody. JJ is timeless and ageless.

Credits: This is a nice closing Montage sending a message of thanks to everybody who supported Valo over the years (I’ve been down since ’93 baby!). A nice end to an overall great dvd.

Bonus Features: The Bonus Features can hold up and entire DVD in itself, this is about a whole other hour of great footage!

– Prologue/Montreal Classic 2009

– AIL 2009

– WRS World Finals 2009

– Kind Grind Classic 2009

– Winterclash 2010

– Bitter Cold Show Down 2010

– Chaz Sands Invitational

– WRS World Finals 2010

– San Francisco Premiere

– Submissions

– Amsterdam

– Valo at Woodward 2009

– Valo at Woodward 2010

– Robbie Pitts

– Falls

– Blackout

– V4L Team Insight

FINAL WORD:I love this dvd and it surpassed my expectations in all areas. Everybody needs to pick this one up, sit back and watch what the LOVE of blading is all about. Valo4Life encapsulates blading, touring and good times. Pretty much inspiration in a box. Enjoy!

VALO 4 LIFE

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One Response to “DVD Review “VALO4LIFE””

  1. Carlos Alfonso Says:

    5 out of 5 skates up!!

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