Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring:||Martin Henderson, Ice Cube, Monet Mazur, Matt Schulze, Jay Hernandez, Will Yun Lee, Jaime Pressly, Adam Scott, Justina Machado|
|Producer:||Brad Luff, Neal H. Moritz|
I’m not a fan of biker movies; I saw this film only because it was an assignment. But it impressed me as being bad even within its genre. And I see that a number of other writers agree. One reviewer wrote that it’s worse than a straightforward Roger Corman type biker movie, because it’s exploitative and yet it tries to take itself seriously.
Cary Ford (Martin Henderson, “The Ring,” “Windtalkers”), a non-gang biker and the hero of the story, has been in Thailand for the last six months because the heat was on him from the Feds. But now he’s returned home, to make things right with girlfriend Shane (Monet Mazur) and to settle the score with drug-running biker Henry James (Matt Schulze), the leader of the Hellions.
There are two ways this story could be played out. Deep character development with the bike culture as a backdrop, or nonstop over-the-top action. Which path do you suppose the director took? Hint: It’s a January release.
As you can guess, things will go wrong many times before it’s all sorted out. There’ll be Hispanic and Asian sidekicks for the good white guy. The Hellions, a white gang, just love to deal drugs. But a black biker gang named the Reapers, led by Trey (Ice Cube), refuses any drug involvement (except for Trey’s weak-willed little brother).
There’s a murder with a motorcycle drive chain, a frame-up, a crooked cop, some wet t-shirts, some bikini-clad women rubbing themselves up against bikers and bikes, some arm-wrestling, some passionate kissing and implied casual sex (without explicit nudity), and an unintelligible rap music background. Gunplay, knifeplay, fistfights, and the use of bikes as weapons. About fifty profanities (including racial slurs, and one occurrence of f* used in reference to the police). A huge dose of ridiculous stunts (part live-action, part retouched, part computer-generated), such as jumping bikes onto a moving train and then off again. And some unbelievably cheesy dialogue.
In the few recent-release biker gang films I’ve seen, the bikes and outfits tend not to be much different from those in films of thirty years ago (at least to a casual observer like myself). Harley-Davidson type bikes; black leathers. But here, many of the bikes are advanced-technology speed machines (one of the film’s terms is “crotch rockets”) and the leathers are near-Dayglo colors. Many of the gang members even wear helmets.
Rather than divide screen time between fights and bike stunts, the good guys and bad guys often fight while performing bike stunts. Sometimes at 200 MPH, in heavy traffic. Uh-huh. And while Ford is in a climactic battle with Henry, Shane squares off with Henry’s multi-pierced, switchblade-toting girlfriend China (Jaime Pressly).
If you’re a fan of films with maximum formula and minimum plot, you’ll love this one. It’s so stupid that I can’t think of any spiritual parallels or any other redeeming value to extract from it. In my opinion, it’s a total waste of your time and money.
Violence: Extreme | Profanity: Heavy | Sex/Nudity: Moderate