Hell Ride

2008, Movie, R, 83 mins

Review

HELL RIDE
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Larry Bishop's painfully self-conscious homage to biker films of yesteryear is a carefully crafted pastiche that doesn't miss a wild-deadly-angels-devils-sadists-revenge cliché and can't hold a candle to the down-and-dirty likes of THE GLORY STOMPERS.

Thirty-two years ago, Pistolero (Bishop), head of the Victors biker gang, lost his smoking-hot motorcycle mama, Cherokee Kisum (Julia Jones) to a rival club, the 666, who slit her throat and burned her alive in retaliation for the theft of some drug money. Now one of Pistolero's crew, Johnny St. Louie (Pete Randall), has just suffered the same grisly fate, and that can only mean one thing: The Sixers are back on the scene and want everyone – especially Pistolero – to know it. They're regrouping under mad-dog Billy Wings (Vinnie Jones) and old-time cycle savage Deuce (David Carradine), and it gradually becomes apparent that they're looking for a strong box that just may contain the cash that went missing all those years ago. So Pistolero, his old pal The Gent (Michael Madsen) and young-gun Comanche (Eric Balfour) – who just might be Pistolero and Cherokee's long-lost son – rustle up old-timer Eddie "Scratch" Zero (Dennis Hopper) and take on their old enemies. Or at least, that's when they do when they aren't barreling down dusty back roads, pawing silicon-breasted, rump-shakers half their age and reminiscing about the bad old days at biker bars like Dani's Inferno, named for its owner, the trampalicious Dani (Laura Coyouette).

To be fair, the majority of authentic biker movies, from cheap obscurities like SINNER'S BLOOD to the high profile likes of EASY RIDER (both 1969), are full of dead spots. In fact, overall it's fair to say that most biker movies are pretty dull, except for the occasional patches of sex and violence. But despite the fact that Bishop (the son of comedian Joey Bishop) appeared in a handful of 1960s and '70s biker pictures as a young actor, his pastiche is both dull and pretentious, enlivened only by Daniele Luppi's witty, pitch perfect score and the occasional pithy zinger from one of the old timers. It's not easy to resurrect the grungy glory of grind houses, and when Hopper's Eddie Zero hisses, "the brotherhood of bikers is bullsh*t," it's hard not to extend the sentiment to neo-biker movies. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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