ESPN'S ULTIMATE X: THE MOVIE —*** 1/2 — Large-format documentary examining ESPN's X-Games competitions; includes competition footage and interviews with Travis Pastrana, Tony Hawk, Mat Hoffman, Ron Semiao, others; rated PG (sports-related violence, mild profanity, mild vulgarity); exclusively at the Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons.

There's not a whole lot to "ESPN's Ultimate X: The Movie," a documentary about the cable channel's competition showcase for such "extreme-sports" as Freestyle Moto-X and Street Luge.

But there doesn't have to be.

Since it's a shorter-length work (less than an hour), all the film really has to do is show some of the wilder stunts and even wilder wipeouts to be effective.

With that in mind, "Ultimate X" is better than just effective — it's an exhilarating blast that makes good use of the large-format screen. (Locally, the film is playing on Jordan Common's Cricket SuperScreen.)

Though the X-Games have been going on for nearly a decade, the film focuses on action from one particular year, 2001's Summer X-Games VIII, which were held in Philadelphia's First Union Center. It's there that we catch up with Ron Semiao, the creator of these unique games, as well as such athletes as Travis Pastrana, champion in the flashiest of the exhibition motorcycle events, colorful BMX stunt performer Cory "Nasty" Nastazio and skateboarder Bob Burnquist.

Also profiled are two kings of their respective sports, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and Mat Hoffman, who has mastered the art of BMX stunts.

All of this is handsomely photographed by a trio of camera crews (one of them supervised by Utah cinematographer Reed Smoot). And even though the film gives short shrift to some of the less flashy sports competitions (the water events are only shown in passing), it's a good primer for those unfamiliar with the Summer X-Games.

As exciting as certain portions of the Moto-X and BMX freestyle competitions are, the film's standout sequence is a Street Luge race, shown in its entirety, sans any voice-over. (Strangely, none of these athletes are interviewed.)

If you couldn't guess, there's even a portion of the film devoted to showing some of the more outrageous wipeouts and accidents (as well as too-brief discussions of the injuries).

"ESPN's Ultimate X: The Movie" is rated PG for sports-related violence, scattered use of mild, religious-based profanity and some mildly vulgar humor. Running time: 42 minutes.


E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com