Taglines: All he cared about was Gleaming the Cube…until the night they killed his brother.
Brian Kelly is an underachieving high school student in Orange County, California. An avid skateboarder along with many of his friends, Brian is frequently at odds with his parents for his increasingly reckless behavior, which has landed him in jail on more than one occasion. The only person in the family Brian can relate to is his adopted Vietnamese brother Vinh, who works as a shipping clerk for the Vietnamese Anti-Communist Relief Fund (VACRF), an organization whose stated purpose is to send medical supplies to Vietnam.
When Vinh discovers a suspicious error in VACRF’s shipping records, he brings it to his boss Colonel Trac, who dismisses the matter as a clerical error. But when Vinh tries to investigate further, Colonel Trac abruptly fires him. Determined to find out the truth, Vinh sneaks into Westpac Medical Supplies (WMS), the warehouse responsible for VACRF’s shipping, but is apprehended by the warehouse’s owner, Ed Lawndale. He is then taken to a local motel and interrogated by Lawndale and Bobby Nguyen, another of Colonel Trac’s employees.
When Colonel Trac himself arrives at the motel, it is revealed that he and Lawndale are conspirators in a scheme to smuggle illegal weapons and ammunition to Vietnam. Convinced that Vinh poses no threat to their operation, Trac intends to set him free, but unfortunately Vinh dies from being strangled by Nguyen. The next morning, a housekeeper enters the room and finds Vinh’s body hanging from a noose, purposely made to look like he committed suicide.
After the funeral, Brian finds the same list of medical supplies Vinh was investigating in their room, but written in Vietnamese. While looking for someone to translate it, he encounters Bobby Nguyen who immediately begins to follow him. When Nguyen stops to use a pay phone, Brian slips unnoticed into the backseat of his car.
In a secluded area, Nguyen meets with Trac and Lawndale and attempts to extort them for $50,000 and plane ticket to Bangkok in exchange for information on Brian. A struggle ensues, and Nguyen is inadvertently shot to death by Lawndale. When Trac and Lawndale depart, Brian flees to notify the police. However, when they arrive at the scene, the authorities find no trace of the crime.
Gleaming the Cube (also known as A Brother’s Justice and Skate or Die) is an American film released in 1989. It featured Christian Slater as Brian Kelly, a 16-year-old skateboarder investigating the death of his adopted Vietnamese brother.
The skating technical advisor for the film was original Z-Boy Stacy Peralta. Among the skateboarders who appear in the film as stunt skaters are Mike McGill, “Gator” Mark Rogowski, Rodney Mullen, Rich Dunlop, Eric Dressen, Lance Mountain, Mike Vallely, Chris Black, Ted Ehr, Natas Kaupas, Chris Borst, and Steve Saiz. Tony Hawk (Buddy) and Tommy Guerrero (Sam), then members of the Bones Brigade, appear in the film as members of Brian’s skate crew. Future lead singer of The Aquabats and creator of Yo Gabba Gabba!, Christian Jacobs, also appears in the film as Gremic.
Gleaming the Cube (1989)
Directed by: Graeme Clifford
Starring: Christian Slater, Steven Bauer, Richard Herd, Le Tuan, Min Luong, Art Chudabala, Ed Lauter, Micole Mercurio, Peter Kwong, Charles Cyphers, hristian Jacobs
Screenplay by: Michael Tolkin
Production Design by: John Muto
Cinematography by: Reed Smoot
Film Editing by: John Wright
Costume Design by: Ann Somers Major
Set Decoration by: Susan Emshwiller
Art Direction by: Dan Webster
Music by: Jay Ferguson
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: January 13, 1989