Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
When one of their own is brutally slain, it is up to a tough biker gang to get their revenge. In a series of sexual encounters and bloody murders, Hell Ride rolls along as a homage to the biker flicks of the late Sixties and early Seventies.
Is it good movie?
I could easily describe the problems with Larry Bishop’s, Hell Ride. The script by Bishop is messy, convoluted and oftentimes just plain dumb. But every so often, he revels in Quentin Tarantino-esque dialogue that is pretty damn entertaining. This includes one of the oddest and sexiest “seduction” scene’s featuring Bishop and girl of the week Nada (the undeniably hot Lenore Varela). The two share a few moments together that are both comical, and fairly scorching thanks to her. But most of the plot and story arc feels like a muddled mess. It all revolves around a promise which Bishop’s Pistolero made to a woman he loved, a woman who was murdered in a vicious way. But other than those odds and ends, the script is all over the place and not very good.
The film boasts “Quentin Tarantino Presents…” and it is obvious that Mr. Bishop had very clearly been inspired by his work… that, and of course Larry’s biker, exploitation flicks from the late Sixties and early Seventies. The cast also includes both Dennis Hopper and David Carradine. Each of these gents are in supporting roles but they seem right at home here. The main cast consists of Bishop, Michael Madsen, Eric Balfour and Vinnie Jones and much of the fun is in the casting. While I had many problems with the script, aside from a couple of entertainingly bizarre dialogue exchanges, I loved the cast. It feels like a true biker film with recognizable names who wanted to get down and dirty. I’ve always liked Balfour, if only because he usually takes on some interesting roles. And both Madsen and Jones are just a couple of great guys that bring their tough guy charisma to this tale of babes, bikes and blood.
With a weak script but game players, I had a lot more fun with Hell Ride then you’d imagine. I grew up watching many of these exploitation flicks and over the years, they’ve become sentimental favorites for me. I feel that Larry Bishop obviously feels the same way. He wanted to make a biker movie that pushes the boundaries of an R-rated feature. There is a ton of ladies willing to supply T & A with not a single tinge of shyness. Hell, the film even gets pretty damn vicious with the bloodshed and violence. While the story and characters are flat and one-dimensional, I still found myself having a good time with the film. I could see getting a group of people together, watching this with a ton of alcohol and the sole intention of having a good time. Don’t even try and pay attention to the story, it isn’t all that important.
I will say that together Bishop and his DP, Scott Kevan did a nice job of making it all look pretty as a picture. The look and style reek of that free love era. While these choppers roar down a desert road, it looks and feels as if you are along for the ride. While the editing seems a bit choppy at times, I felt that the film has a lot of fun experimenting with color and light. And while it may not be winning any awards, it certainly achieved the look it was going for. So in the end, Hell Ride is not necessarily a good movie, it is really more of a good time movie. So if you are into exploitation biker flicks with hot chicks, you might as well give this one a test drive.
Video / Audio
Video: This is a very clear Widescreen, 2.35:1 transfer which may offer up a good number of pause worthy moments of nudity.
Audio: Rev up those engines because this 5.1 Dolby Digital sounds all right and groovy to me.
As far as Special Features are concerned, I really enjoyed what Larry Bishop and DP Scott Kevan had to say on the Commentary. I love Bishop’s energy and his excitement because I can imagine that he may have just had that kind of energy during the making of the film. Very entertaining listen here.
As for The Making of Hell Ride (8:49), while Larry’s energy didn’t show as much here, it did offer up a fun nine minutes of the how and the why of Hell Ride. Although in an interview for this segment, Larry explains that he really wanted Quentin Tarantino to be happy with this film… but QT is nowhere on this disc… would’ve been nice to see his reaction.
With The Babes of Hell Ride (5:19), you get exactly what the title suggests… babes. All the hotties that appear in this flick are introduced. The girls are all very attractive and so this is worth watching, especially the uber hot Leonor Varela.
The Guys of Hell Ride (14:13) is also a fun few minutes… just not as exciting as the last one. The most interesting observation comes from David Carradine saying that there are no good guys in this film.
The Choppers of Hell Ride (9:33) examines the bad ass bikes featured in the film. If you dig bikes (and who doesn’t?) this is definitely worth a look. I would have to say my favorite features… babes and bikes.
Michael Madsen’s Video Diary (9:03) proves once again why Michael Madsen is so damn cool. He talks about the experience of doing a film he seemed very happy with and how important it was to have Quentin Tarantino behind it. You don’t get better then the Madsen!
And finishing things off, you’ll find the fun Red Band Trailer for the film.
Larry Bishop has a ton of energy and some serious love for biker films. With that, Hell Ride is a fun, sexy and wild ride that fails to be much more than blood, babes and bikes. The script, also by Bishop, is all over the place and doesn’t work. But thanks to a ready and willing cast and an eye for the obscure, I have to say that Hell Ride was moderately worth the trip for me. Although that comes with a warning, it most likely will not be worth your time if you’re not into the exploitation pictures of yesteryear. The script is way off, and it is far from perfect, but if biker flicks rev up your engine, this one is worth at least taking a look.