Thrashin’ (1986)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Totally '80s goofy fun

Generic Romeo and Juliette story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Thrashin’

Studio:  Winters Hollywood Entertainment Holdings Corporation

Genre(s):  Sports/Romance/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  August 29, 1986

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


What we learn from Thrashin’: Being from Indiana is bad…Being from the Valley is worse…

Cory Webster (Josh Brolin) has come to California to compete in the L.A. Massacre in the hopes of getting a sponsor.  Cory and his friends from the Valley make enemies of the Daggers…a local skate gang.  The problem is compounded when Cory begins seeing Chrissy (Pamela Gidley) who is the sister of Dagger member Tommy Hook (Robert Rusler).  Tommy and Cory now are at odds and an accident might cause Cory to lose both Chrissy and the L.A. Massacre.

Directed by David Winters, Thrashin’ (also sometimes known as Skate Gang) was a skateboarding movie that happened to fall at the beginning of the skateboarding craze in the ’80s.  The movie has gained a cult following and is particularly liked by skaters.


The Daggers are coming to get you!

My friend and I used to rent Thrashin’ all the time in the ’80s…we imagined ourselves jumping and skateboarding to the punk soundtrack despite being country Indiana kids (like Chrissy) and barely having a patch of pavement to practice on.  Thrashin’ isn’t a great movie but it holds a sentimental place for me as a result.

The movie is basically a Romeo and Juliette story combined with something like The Karate Kid.  Brolin’s character and his friends are outsiders from the Valley (oh, the horror…) and faces off against the beach Daggers.  It is very basic and also obvious where the story is going to go (and it takes the path you expect).


That’s right…I’m a Dagger…and a pretty bad-ass one!

The movie does have a decent cast and a few “look for them” actors as the skaters.  Josh Brolin won the role despite attempts to cast Johnny Depp who was dating Sherilyn Fenn at the time (Brolin ironically turned down 21 Jump Street which went to Johnny Depp).  Robert Rusler is ironically from Indiana despite knocking it most of the film.  He plays a good “villainous” Tommy, but fortunately isn’t entirely one dimensional (hey, he and Cory even come together by the end of the film).  Pamela Gidley is likeable as the love interest Chrissy and Chrissy’s friend (and Tommy’s girlfriend) Velvet is played by future Twin Peaks star Sherilyn Fenn.  Throughout the movie real skateboarders appear including Tony Alva, Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, and Christian Hosoi…plus, we get a young band called The Red Hot Chili Peppers performing as themselves at a concert!


I might be in Thrashin’ now but guess who’s getting an Oscar nomination suckas!!!

The star of the film is the skateboarding.  In today’s “extreme sports” the skateboarding might be a little tame for viewers, but at the time, it was new and exciting.  The lame jousting scene in Bronson Canyon (which was recreated on Jackass) and the downhill race of the L.A. Massacre both provide memorable scenes and are fairly well shot (the joust scene looks like it could have fallen out of  The Warriors).

Thrashin’ is what it is.  It is a goofy ’80s movie that will probably only appeal to A) people who grew up with it or B) people who want to watch a very ’80s film.  Combine it with a viewing of BMX Bandits, and you have a ’80s “X-Treme” weekend.  It does teach some valuable lessons…like if you ever move to California, don’t live in the Valley.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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