There's a quiet twinge of anger in the empty spaces between tries as Tony Hawk attempts to retire his 900 trick with one last hurrah. Three whole minutes are spent suspended in time, punctuated by slams and skids—but the wheels keep rolling.
Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off is HBO's newest documentary, tracking Hawk through the scrawny days of his youth to the present, where he sits atop the skateboarding throne. Many biographical documentaries fall into a familiar formula: first, briefly touching on the present, then throwing us back to the past and walking us through life up until the modern-day, where the documentary ends. In the same fashion as his video games, this documentary might technically be about Tony Hawk. Still, it's more about the scene and the emotions rather than focusing on just one person.
The title isn't even derived from Hawk himself—instead, it's skateboarder Rodney Mullen's line, which he very prophetically gives at the end of the film: "But there's something inside of me propelling; that I'm not going to give up until the wheels fall off." That same drive led Hawk to land the monumental 900 at the X Games in 1999, yet also that same drive that pushed him to keep going after being repeatedly criticized as a young skateboarder.
As a whole, the documentary was surprisingly emotional given the subject matter, as Hawk gets very frank and admits to the faults he made in his life regarding his children, especially with his first son, Riley. The mental aspect of skateboarding and the lives that trail along with it is normally talked about so little that it seems they don't even exist. From the outside looking in, skateboarding is a "tough-guy" sport—it's not for the faint of heart or for those who "can't handle" it, which Hawk immediately debunks.