Gleaming The Cube is a film that was released on January 13, 1989, under the American neo-noir genre, directed by Graeme Clifford. The story revolves around a 16-year-old boy who loves to skate, investigating the sudden and tragic demise of his Vietnamese brother, who was adopted.
The film’s name was altered to Challenge to Win Againwhen released in the Philippines in the mid-1990s.
The film was shot in different locations around the USA, but majorly it was filmed in California.
Brian Kelly is a below-average high school student residing in Orange County, California. Brian is a passionate skateboarder who is often found stuck in odd situations and has even landed up behind bars more than once due to his parents’ reckless behavioral pattern. Brian’s only place and person of comfort was his brother Vinh, who was posted as a shipping clerk in an organization named Vietnamese Anti-Communist Relief Fund (VACRF), which is responsible for sending medicinal support and items to Vietnam.
Vihn discovers some suspicious activities related to VACRF’s records of shipping items; he brings this topic up in front of his boss Colonel Trac, who then dismisses Vihn for attempting investigation. Vihn does not give up in his attempt to find the truth and lands up at VACRF’s warehouse that handles its shipping, where he is reprimanded by owner Ed Lawndale.
Vihn was later subjected to interrogation by Lawndale and another employee named Bobby at a motel. Later, during interrogation, Vihn was found innocent, yet Bobby strangles Vihn to death and hangs his body to pose it for a probable suicide.
Brian, who was devastated by his brother’s tragic fate, finds out about his investigation and requests the police to look into it. The story further gets very intense, and in a turn of incidents, Brian is subjected to certain actions that help him in finding out what truly happened with his brother.
In the lead role of Brian Kelly, we have Christian Slater. Steven Bauer cast as Al Lucero. In the role of the so-called villains of the story Ed Lawndale, we have Richard Herd, and as Bobby Nguyen, we have Peter Kwong. In the role of Brian’s brother Vihn, we have actor Art Chudabala.
In other minor roles, we have actor Christian Jacobs as Gremio. Buddy Joe Hooker, a famous stuntman, has a cameo as a driver of a Corvette.
The film received positive reviews from twenty-nine percent of critics who listen on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie has many beautiful skating scenes that are a definite attraction for many viewers. The Washington Post duly noted that,
“Gleaming the Cube, is a slight skateboard thriller that looks more like one of those “Afterschool Specials” on television than a bona fide feature film.
It centers on teens gathered together in their subculture (skateboarding here, but it could just as well be surfing, dirt-biking, dune-buggy, or thrash metal) and gives it a little mystery twist.”