L.A. Graffiti Legends

Director Cody Smith took ten years assembling this documentary on famed LA graffiti crew Can’t Be Stopped, more commonly known by the acronym C.B.S. First emerging in the 1980s out of Hollywood, the documentary is a lucid examination of the multi-ethnic group’s impact on the world of graffiti art and how they helped shaped urban fashion and music. Former House of Pain member Everlast narrates this poignant look back at the crew’s early years and subsequent rise to prominence in the 1990s.

Can’t Be Stopped as a film feels like a spiritual descendant of Style Wars

The primary focus of Cody Smith’s film are two important members in the graffiti crew’s history – a young man known as “Skate” to his friends who became a father figure to everyone and DJ Rob One. Both would pass away before their time due to tragic circumstances.

Skate served as a mentor and graffiti legend, establishing C.B.S. as ground zero for graffiti art in LA. Often taking teenage boys from broken homes and helping them join the wider C.B.S. family, his contributions cannot be underestimated. Rob One became prominent thanks to his music industry connections, helping spread the group out of LA into San Francisco and beyond.

Can’t Be Stopped as a film feels like a spiritual descendant of Style Wars, the seminal documentary which introduced New York’s urban youth culture to the world. What Style Wars did for the early days of graffiti and hip hop in NYC, Can’t Be Stopped is the LA equivalent. You’ll learn how C.B.S. came together, depicting their rugged lifestyle on the streets of LA. Everything from “tagging” risky locations like freight trains to “racking” paint supplies from local stores are discussed.

As C.B.S. grew in fame and importance during the 90s, their influence on fashion (Conart) and music is extensively covered. Casual viewers will recognize a couple of familiar Hollywood faces in the film – actors David Arquette and Jon Bernthal.

It’s quite amazing what a rag-tag group of kids from LA accomplished, helping to establish graffiti as a true art form. The film more or less gives the unvarnished truth, portraying the crew as a tight-knit group of like-minded youths who found a creative outlet in “bombing” LA through their art.

Offering a candid and insightful look at the legendary C.B.S. with rare personal footage from group members, Can’t Be Stopped is often riveting and even insightful for nostalgic adults who grew up during this period. Providing a unique glimpse back into a youth culture which helped shape many trends, there’s something for everyone.


MVD releases Can’t Be Stopped on a BD-25 in a consistently inconsistent 1.78:1 presentation. The documentary is a mix of recent interviews shot in clean definition and clarity at full HD resolution, cut with much older home videos shot during the 80s and 90s on what appears to be personal camcorders.

Shown at 1080p resolution, the older material looks woeful. Aliasing and other byproducts of the VHS era are endemic to the archival footage. The main feature runs 74 minutes, encoded in steady AVC.

The new interviews are crisp with razor-sharp clarity. Overall, it’s an acceptable mix of the old and new producing decent video quality with a few caveats.


5.1 DTS-HD MA provides a rowdy musical background for the documentary’s soundtrack. C.B.S. was an influential force in music, especially hip hop and hard rock fusions. That music occasionally plays as accompaniment. DJ Rob One’s life receives a lot of coverage in the film. It’s a solid mix with steady dynamics. New interviews are impeccable recordings, while some older footage has less pristine audio quality.

Ample bass and a full sense of space offer a spacious soundstage. It should be mentioned noted hip hop producer Alchemist and rapper Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples make appearances in the film.

Optional English SDH subtitles appear in a yellow font. A secondary 2.0 PCM soundtrack is available on the BD.


No special features are included. The back-cover lists the disc as Region A.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page.

Can't Be Stopped
  • Video
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A lucid examination of the influential graffiti crew C.B.S., hailing out of West Hollywood and first rising to prominence in the 1980s.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 42 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: