Stoked: The Rise And Fall Of Gator

Stoked: The Rise And Fall Of Gator (2002)
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Extras: Interviews, TV Specials, Slide Show

How cool would it be spending your days doing something that you thoroughly enjoyed, while getting paid tons of cash to do it? Most of us strive for this in life and yet only a few succeed at that goal. Mark ’Gator’ Rogowski was one of those individuals, at least in the short term.

Filmmaker Helen Stickler tells the fascinating story about life as a professional skateboarder, in Southern California during the eighties, in the documentary ’Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator’. Emerging as a professional skateboarder, Gator achieved early success in his life after he began writing for Skate Vision and also producing various skateboarding videos with them. Later, he went on to be a representative for Vision Street Wear clothing as well as lending his name to custom skateboards, which all contributed to his financial gains. After attaining a virtual pop-star status, Gator began to let his success affect his judgment by alienating various individuals around him and changing his name to Mark Anthony, to supposedly freshen his image, while becoming a victim of reinvention in the process and being considered a virtual sell-out by his friends and fellow skateboarders alike. Gator really started to face personal disappointment when he struggled to adapt to the new street skating techniques of the early nineties and becoming almost disenfranchised as his fame was starting to slip away. While dealing with eroding popularity and his own personal sanity, Gator turned to Christianity and attempted to bring his girlfriend Brandi into the same beliefs causing their relationship to deteriorate. After their alleged breakup, he turned to Brandi’s best friend Jessica for companionship, which lead to, what Gator himself calls, a situation of ’kinky sex gone bad’ as he allegedly murdered Jessica one night they were together, leading to Gator receiving a 31 year sentence for rape and murder.

Palm Pictures presents ’Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator’ in a nicely produced 1.33:1 full-screen transfer that exhibits a clean presentation throughout. Due to the use of various source materials, colors and black levels vary throughout the documentary, but provide an overall good viewing experience that is mostly free of compression artifacts.

Soundtracks for this documentary are available in Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 and provide the presentation with a fairly good balance, with surrounds and low frequency channels being utilized only during various skateboarding sequences mixed with music from the era including; Agent Orange, Dead Kennedys and Butthole Surfers.

There is an abundance of extras included in this DVD that will surely please any skateboarding fans out there. Some features include; ’Stoked: Uncovered, Fuel Television Special’, a full timeline of the events presented in this documentary, extended scenes, additional interviews and various outtakes. Also included are previews of other Palm Pictures presentations available on DVD.

This documentary will, without a doubt, appeal to skateboarding fans and anyone looking for a well produced documentary that gives observation into a rather interesting scene, which was present in Southern California during the eighties. I was truly impressed with this documentary; it not only exposed me to an interesting story, but gave me quite the insight into the sport of professional skateboarding.