Lightyear Entertainment // 2004 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Corupe (Retired) // June 26th, 2004
All my friends know the low rider.
In California, Vehicle Code #24008 stipulates that "no part of the vehicle be lower than the lowest part of the rim." Originally introduced in 1959, the new law allowed cops to crack down on the latest trend in automotive fashion: pavement-scraping low riders. Necessity is often the mother of invention, and in response to police pressure, pioneering low rider Ron Aguirre ripped the shocks out of his Corvette and replaced them with hydraulic pumps salvaged from Army surplus bombers. When approached by police, Aguirre would simply flick a switch and his asphalt-hugging cruiser would rise to a suitably legal height.
Although Code #24008 still exists, hydraulics have outgrown their original purpose as a means to skirt traffic laws. Popularized by hip-hop videos and films, car hydraulics are now an essential part of the ride itself. Cars bouncing, shifting, and raising one wheel in the air for off-kilter cruising are standard, but a whole other side to car hydraulics has sprung up, based around competition.
Lightyear's DVD Hip Hoppers is a 60-minute program featuring hydraulic-equipped low riders competing in hopping, dancing, and jumping competitions. Generally, a driver stands outside their car and manipulates a box of switches, making the car twitch, jump, dance, and bounce for the scrutiny of the judges and the delight of crowds. Instead of showing us whole stages of competition, Hip Hoppers just presents several scenes of competing cars broken up by the occasional interviews with the owners of these vehicles.
Motorsports artist Kenny Youngblood is the host of Hip Hoppers, and he goes out of his way to provide a solid technical explanation for those not familiar with the car hopping phenomenon. Despite Kenny's claims that the hydraulics craze may represent the new face of car competition, he doesn't seem that impressed with the low riders, and in one case, clearly has no idea what his interviewee is talking about.
The quality is in line with the other release in this series -- in a word: weak. Artifacts and unstable colors further detract from an already soft video presentation. The real deficiency here is an extremely poor sound mix. The music is way too loud, and the interviews are inaudible, necessitating one finger on the volume control at all times.
The back of the case boldly declares that this release contains bonus material called "Hoppin' and Truckin." In a few other releases in this series, when the main program ended, another scarcely related 15-minute addendum of "bonus footage" began. In this case, there is no break at all -- "Hoppin' and Truckin" is just the last chapter of the DVD. Claiming that this is some kind of bonus is akin to plastering a sticker on the front of your DVD proclaiming "Special Anniversary Edition -- Now featuring end credits!"
In my review of Lightyear's drag racing DVD Wacky Wheelies, I found an hour's worth of cars doing wheelies grew tedious pretty fast, but they are endlessly fascinating compared to the monotony of bouncing low riders. Unless you are a serious fan of hydraulic car competitions, the novelty of seeing heavy vehicles hopping, dancing, and jumping simply does not outlast the running time of this release.
Review content copyright © 2004 Paul Corupe; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Lightyear Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated