PLOT: A long time ago, a woman was brutally murdered by a vicious biker gang. She left behind a son who disappeared soon after, and a safe deposit box with something that may be very beneficial to whoever finds it. It leads to a lot of killing and f*cking as a couple of rival gangs smack down on each other looking for answers… and sex.
First off, not everyone will love HELL RIDE. There is definitely a certain type of crowd that will enjoy it but I‘m guessing a majority will not. As I was walking out of the screening I saw, one older woman wearing too much make-up said out loud it was one of the worst hour and a halves of her life. Well see… the movie is good for something. And good for me is was. It is a stylishly vicious homage to those motorcycle road flicks released in the Sixties and Seventies. There is ample amount of killing and an incredible abundance of beautiful, scantily clad or just down right naked women. This is a road picture that wears it’s admiration on it’s sleeve. Hell, Dennis Hopper and David Carradine are even along for the ride. While it may not be cinematic gold, it is a mostly satisfying return to the grind house cinema of yesteryear. And if you are in the mood for a whole lotta full frontal female nudity… this may be the film going experience of the year for you. Well maybe aside from your current porn collection.
Now as for the storyline, I can honestly say that it might be a bit strange to follow along. It is actually a bit disjointed and sometimes nonsensical. So for sake of simplicity, there are two gangs, the Victors and the Six-Six-Six’ers and they are at war over an incident in the past. Back on July 4th of 1969, the 666’ers slit a beautiful girls throat and set her on fire. It takes a little over half the movie to find out the reason, but it really isn’t much of a surprise. Years later, Pistelero (Larry Bishop, who also directed), The Gent (Michael Madsen) and Comanche (Eric Balfour) know something is brewing. One bad ass mutha-f*cka named Billy Wings (Vinnie Jones, kicking ass as always, although what the hell was that accent?) is tearing a bloody trail all the way through this murderous saga. And most importantly, there is a box hidden away with something worthwhile and it all has to do with the young lady torched in ‘69. The story is a bit predictable once you see where it’s going, but it’s all about the fun of getting there.
Now as a director, it seems that Larry Bishop really got down and dirty with the 1970’s style. He plays with color, he experiments with the texture of the great wide open. The warm tones that fill the brutal landscape feel right at home with films like DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY or VANISHING POINT. Both of those films are cool little road flicks of the past and you could also throw in comparisons to EASY RIDER if you’d like, which of course featured Dennis Hopper also. There are a couple of really memorable shots that put you as the viewer in exactly the place you would want to be and I‘m not talking about the lesbian sex scenes… or am I? Again, there is a certain type of individual who will relish a film like this. Quentin Tarantino is one of those individuals which is why he is an executive producer for it. In fact, there are a few moments that seem very familiar in a Tarantino movie, and rumor has it that he may have been there shooting a scene or two. But that is strictly a rumor and I think Mr. Bishop deserves the credit, good or bad, for his retro madness.
While I will say that I had a blast with the all the exploitation going on, the script (also by Bishop) gets a bit convoluted and dare I say, pretty damn dull in regards to narrative. Don’t get me wrong, I liked some of the “Tarantinoesque“ dialogue, and that includes a drawn out talk about Pistelero’s “Fire Hose” and another classic Pistelero moment with a hottie and a billiard table. Both scenes have a lot about f*cking going on and they were a blast to watch. But believe it or not, every time it tried explaining the story, I felt like it was one of those flicks where style over substance would’ve been just fine. Bishop wrote, directed and starred in this scorching hot and ultimately entertaining Tarantino “inspired” b-movie with some of what made b-movies fun. Yet when it tries to explain what the hell is going on, it finds itself on the road to dullsville. Yet it is still worth a look if you are a fan of the classic road pics from the decade of free love.
My rating 6/10 -- JimmyO