As the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia gets into full swing, Nike has released an encapsulating the vibrant street soccer culture that exists in the host country.
Titled ‘Never Ask’ and directed jointly by Riff Raff’s David Wilson and WIZZ's CRCR, the film tells the story of one boy’s attempt to make a name for himself in the harsh environment of the korobka - the uniquely Russian variety of enclosed football pitch that many in the country grow up honing their skills on.
In traditional Nike style there’s no explicit mention of the huge sporting event that began this week because the brand is not an official sponsor. But while adidas is putting the big names on screens and using FIFA’s logo in its ads, Nike is capturing the real football experience for normal Russians kicking balls about on the streets.
Applying his recognisable animation style to help dramatise the boy’s story, the director brings a youthful dynamism to the piece that is amplified by Joan Jett’s raucous ‘Bad Reputation’ (a track you might recognize as the title music of Freaks & Geeks).
While nowhere near as much of a gore-fest, it’s reminiscent of David’s Royal Blood video from a few years ago, exaggerating the live-action story with over-the-top animated sequences. Here it is again, as it’s worth a re-watch: