Archive for Biker Movie Reviews

Motorcycles in the Movies

Article by Alan Liptrot


When Bud Ekins took the place of Steve McQueen, to jump the wire fence in the film ‘The Great Escape’, he arguably created the most famous motorcycle movie scene of all time, but you will notice that I used the word ‘arguably’, because there are other movies that run this one close. The Great Escape wasn’t a film about motorcycles; it just happened to have the scene that everyone remembers. Interestingly, although McQueen didn’t perform that stunt, it was his idea to include that scene. Both Ekins and McQueen were avid motorcyclists.

In 1969, Dennis Hopper directed and starred alongside Peter Fonda in a film that reverberated far beyond the Movie Theatre. ‘Easy Rider’ was the story of two disillusioned youths who, after collecting the funds from a dope sale in Southern California, set off on a trip across America. The Hydraglides in the film, which were built between 1949 and 1952, were bought at auction for 500 US Dollars, but chopper builders Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy transformed the bikes, each one having a back-up to ensure the cameras kept rolling. One of the bikes was wrecked in the final scene while the others were stolen before the significance of movie props was realised. The final campfire scene still had to be shot, hence the absence of the motorcycles, whereas in the previous campfire scenes, the bikes are clearly visible. The wrecked ‘Captain America’ was rebuilt and by Dan Haggerty and became a museum exhibit until it was sold in 2001.

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Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) by all critics was a motion picture failure. Mickey Rourke enters as a biker named Harley (I know several dogs named Harley) named so after his ride. Makes you wonder, if he road a Gold Wing would his name be Goldie? His friend, The Marlboro Man who also rides a Harley seems to be named after the cigarette Marlboro character. (A form of Cowboy syndrome?)

Their favorite “biker bar” from long ago, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Bar and Grill is on the brink of bankruptcy so they team up to save it. They decide to get money to keep the bar open by robbing a bank.

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Ghost Rider

It’s the old story of good versus evil where the good guy gets to look cool on a fiery blazing chopper.

Marvel comics strikes again as the comic pages come to life as only Nicolas Cage can characterize playing motorcyclist stunt rider, Johnny Blaze. Cage is perfect for the role as his laid back easygoing personality persists throughout the film.

The back-story includes a devilish deceptive contract with the devil, in exchange for Johnny’s soul for his father’s life but his dad is dying of cancer: Johnny’s dad dies anyway, not from Cancer but a motorcycle accident so the contract reminds binding. Johnny Blaze becomes the “Ghost Rider” as part of another yet another agreement with Mephistopheles, father of the Blackheart with the hope that
Ghost Rider will defeat his son.

The movie, although imaginary is somewhat childish fueled by an unoriginal plot backed by a dull music score. I really thought the burning Skeleton riding his hot bike was cool enough to watch the movie in it’s entirety. It’s an okay film.

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Wild Hogs (2007)

Wild Hogs

The reviews weren’t pretty. In general the film rated 2 stars if that, being seen as a terrible mishmash of slapstick, floundering and Hollywood Stereotyped Bikers with a script written to please traditional America.

On the flip side of a bad review, the actors were having a great time, regardless of the film. AND it was entertaining. Hollywood provided the typical Bike Syndrome phenomena; enter the Del Fuegos.

The appearance of Peter Fonda was cool and several rides from Orange County Choppers custom bikes and open road made New Mexico look inviting.

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Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider

This is a classic, and after 35 years since its initial release, Easy Rider still has a viewing audience.  The movie, set in the 1960’s is filled with biker prejudice, free love, good music, violence and of course drugs the total Biker image that Hollywood loves to perpetuate till this day.

Though the lenses of the camera and the sounds of Steppenwolf, the Byrds, and the Electric Prunes, we follow two prototypical hippie bikers living the American Dream.  Almost an odyssey, their quest on the road represents the American biker image of freedom with no responsibilities.

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