Aiming to pick up where 2004’s The Collective left off, Roam kicks and thumps onto your screen with a wallop: the opening section with Darren Berrecloth riding some impossibly impressive Shore is almost worth the purchase alone. The same group of filmmakers, photographers and world leading freeriders are back, with more destinations and even more impressive riding.
The directors set a high precedent with their first release. It was a breath of fresh air and managed to tear itself away from the usual mix of wham-bam riding and heavy punk/rock music so prevalent in MTB films. Typified by long shots, The Collective was a more chilled out affair than we’ve seen before, with riders wafting along singletrack, zip wires used to cover entire sections of north shore in one shot, and a refreshingly easy-on-the-ears soundtrack.
But does Roam deliver anything different or it just The Collective 2? It’s a little bit of both really. They’ve wisely stuck to the formula that made the first film successful, continuing to explore new realms of photographic niftiness, and added a bunch of new areas from around the globe. The title refers to what essentially is the heart of MTBing – exploration of new areas and new trails. To this end Roam stops off at Morocco, Prague, Canada and other riding hotspots. The same bunch of riders are back for more, reinforced with a couple of new faces. There’s Berrecloth’s little brother giving it large, Steve Peat showing all the meaning of fast and plenty of back flips from Jordie Lunn’s backyard jam.
Part of what made The Collective unique was the nifty camera work, employing techniques not used before in any MTB film. Roam continues this with zip wires strung out through forests, helmet cams, crane cams aloft in the air, wide close ups, low down angles and slow motion filming, all giving ROAM a visual flair that other films lack. The directors have clearly thought about and planned how best to capture each section to really show it of to the maximum degree possible. And they’ve just about managed to avoid using these techniques just for the sake of it.
Without wanting to spoil things too much, there’re some standout sections. They opening sequence is mightily impressive, as is the top to bottom filming of Whistler with several guys racing each other down the mountain. You get 70 minutes of mostly awe-inspiring riding – yes there are a couple of sections which perhaps don’t do the rest justice, but there is something for everyone. Like the trials segment with Ryan Leech again giving us a lesson in impossible riding in Prague. And there’s a nice line-up of bonus features, including a look behind the scenes at the Specialized HQ.
Sequels are undeniably hard, especially when you’ve got to try and improve upon something as good as The Collective, and Roam is definitely worth a watch (or three, four or five).