Gymkhana Files: The Review
Maybe you’ve seen the videos. If so, you can’t forget them. The most intense and precise driving on city streets and industrial zones that can possibly be imagined. Ken Block / Hoonigan’s Gymkhana videos are the the realization of every gear head’s dream, the ability to drive it like you stole it with no repercussions, other than the potential for death, injury or terminal car damage. Easy, right? How do you top something that’s already beyond normal comprehension?
Amazon’s Prime Video has put out several quality motorsport documentaries series. First, they released Le Mans: Racing is Everything, a behind the curtain look at the effort and drama of the 24 Hours of LeMans. The next project was Grand Prix Driver a look at the internal self-destruction of the McLaren Formula 1 team during the 2017 season. Amazon has established some pretty decent credentials for motorsport documentaries so when the Gymkhana Files showed up it seemed like a no-brainer. The Gymkhana Files follows Ken Block and the team at Hoonigan as they make GymKhana 10 across 5 different locations using five different, but equality insane cars.
At first, we were apprehensive that a documentary that revealed the behind the curtain moments could be a little boring, or otherwise take the shine away from the excitement of the Gymkhana videos. Quite the opposite, after watching all the episodes one will easily be in bigger awe of Ken Block’s skills and zealousness for rallying.
It’s not all fun and games. The behind the scenes is not always so kind as viewers get to see the fails and sometimes internal conflicts of a massive production crew and racing team. However, the excitement is watching the team at Hoonigan solve problems. Sometimes it was a planned trick that just didn’t work out. Other times it was facing obstacles that only a hoon would worry about. For example, in one episode the team spends some time trying to get the appropriate amount of sparks from the bare rims of Ken’s Ford Escort Cosworth Group A car. The insanity on display is not some insane drift or jump. Rather, the insanity is Ken’s ability to pull off the impossible and then to be asked if he can do it again and get his car even closer to terminal disaster. Over and over he sets a bar and then is asked to set it even higher.
Its not a just a series for gearheads or inner children. It’s for anyone interested in film production as the Gymkhana Files demonstrate how high production value videos are created and edited. For those readers interested in this genre we also wish to point out that you pay close attention to the efforts the team at Hoonigan make for safety, whether that be the safety of the car down to the crew and ensuring that no bystanders walk onto a “hot” city street.
The payoff for all of this insanity is Gymkhana 10. Starting on December 17th, Gymkhana TEN will then also be available on Hoonigan’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/thehoonigans) for those without Amazon Prime.
If you need a reminder of what Gymkhana is all about here are a few samples: