- Earthed: Law of Fives
Law of Fives is (no, really, you’d never guess) the fifth film in Dirt Magazine’s Earthed series. Once again, filmmaker Alex Rankin and cohorts have been around the world following the World Cup DH series, with race footage being interleaved with rider segments from the UK and abroad.
There are two recurrent themes in Law of Fives. First is a focus on the UK’s up-and-coming racers like Ruaridh Cunningham and Josh Bryceland. And second is the phenomenon that is Sam Hill. Having won both the World Cup and the World Championships in the same year, it’s hardly surprising that the Australian features heavily. And despite always looking like he’s riding in kit that’s at least two sizes too big, Hill makes for good footage.
The race coverage includes a smattering of short interviews, many of which carried out by Vanessa Quin, who’s definitely got a knack for extracting comments that are as close to insightful as you can expect from bike racers. Between the riding footage and the interviews, there’s a lot here for technique geeks to get their teeth into.
Outside racing, you get treated to an array of rides (the aforementioned Cunningham, Bryceland and Hill, plus various Athertons and other DH luminaries on between-race downtime in locations as diverse as North Wales and Finale Ligure.
As is traditional with Earthed, there’s a BMX section and some random nightclub footage, but both of these are mercifully brief. A more welcome Earthed tradition is the eclectic soundtrack – no need to play your own tunes over this one to escape wall-to-wall metal.
Of course, there are crashes aplenty, with some of the most wincesome coming from Vigo’s excitingly ungroomed 4X course. As well as World Cup races there’s plenty of stuff from the UK NPS, which, although shot from an array of imaginative angles, doesn’t really stack up to the international stuff simply because the courses aren’t generally as dramatic.
The final segment in the film is Sam Hill’s assault on Dirt’s own DH test track, christened “1:04” after the time recorded by Dirt’s Steve Jones. The course record was held by Gee Atherton at a whisker over a minute. Earlier in the film Greg Minnaar had tried (and failed) to match it (although it was wet). Hill showed up and knocked three seconds off the record, to the obvious amazement of Steve…
Ups and downs
Positives: Great footage and actually quite interesting beyond merely riding to gawp at
Negatives: A little repetitive in parts, BMX stuff rather out of place
It’s perhaps not as tightly edited as previous Earthed films, but Law of Fives is eminently watchable and certainly passes the “makes you want to ride” test with flying colours.