Ken Block, in the car world, tends to be a pretty well known name. Whether you know who he is, or have heard of him, has little effect though on the fact that you’ve probably seen his work in relation to the long standing series of videos known as the Gymkhana Series. In the series, Block drives a range of hopped up vehicles ranging from the original STi Impreza that he showcased in his first video that hit the web somewhere around 10 years ago if memory serves, to his custom built ‘Hoonicorn’ Mustang in one of his more recent videos where he tore up the streets of Los Angeles. Now for a while the videos shocked and inspired awe from their millions of viewers. Whether it was the cars themselves, the exotic or unique locales, or what Block was able to do with them. Armed with high revving powerful motors and all wheel drive, Block could literally make the cars dance to his tune and he still can very much so.
Early this morning, on the Hoonigan You Tube Channel and in Conjunction with the guys from Forza Horizon 3, Block’s 9th installment of his Gymkhana series hit the web and it was to be as expected. Lots of product placement, no surprise there, but also lots of shredded tires, donuts, tire smoke, and high speed slides. Filmed in what appears to be an old train station it features slides through tunnels, donuts around obstacles, and even a game of chicken with a train. For one part of the video there’s even a new Raptor suspended from a Coast Guard Helicopter. It all sounds very exciting but as you watch the video, at least for me personally, it all begins to lose the magic, it’s not as exciting, and I got the strangest feeling of deja vu, like I had seen it somewhere before. It dawned on me at the end of the video with Block doing a myriad of donuts and figure 8’s on a draw bridge that I really had seen it all before, in every video that he’s released prior. Block is a great driver yes, the video for being shot on a handful of high end cameras but mostly go pros, is well shot and produced for what it is yes, but it’s the same as all of his other videos and we all know what happens when you try and stretch a franchise on for too long. I was hopeful they would break the mold with this one and do something wild and different than before but I was left wanting more.
No granted, this could be due to the fact that their original production and ideas had been shot down for the project in Australia due to the country’s very strict ‘No Hooning’ laws. You can read more on that story over at Jalopnik’s article about it. I’ve been there before where you’ve spent months planning a project only to have it blow up in your face and sometimes you have to soldier on and just finish the project in less than ideal conditions, and sometimes it’s better to regroup, step back, and come up with a plan B. Regardless though, I’m very curious to see what the general public has to say about the video. Will it garner enough attention to merit a tenth installment? Or will this be the end of the Gymkhana series? Share your thoughts in the comments below!