Biker movies: They arrive at the box office with fanfare, but invariably leave moviegoers walking out in disappointment, if they know anything about motorcycles. This week, we’re taking a look at a few particularly bad films that focus on two-wheeled exploits.
Road Kings (2003)
When someone asks me about an awful movie, I think of Road Kings. This abomination hit the scene in 2003, but it was about 30 years to late. Here’s why.
If you watch the trailer, you’ll see this is no more than a blaxploitation rip-off of Easy Rider, with sportbikes instead of choppers. You’ve got a couple of righteous dudes on a doomed cross-country trip who run afoul of the law and shotgun-wielding hillbillies before they meet their demise. The only difference is the skin colour. Like I said, it’s something you’d expect from the ’70s, not the last 10 years. Didn’t blaxploitation die off around the same time as disco?
How bad is this film? It’s so bad that it’s almost impossible to find any trace of it on the Internet – even a YouTube search doesn’t reveal much in the way of clips. It’s as if history itself is trying to erase any records of this movie, and if you see the trailer below, you’ll understand why.
In some ways, Torque was the exact opposite of Road Kings – it should have been the right movie at the right time. It came along right after the hugely successful Fast and the Furious street racing movie series started, and had the same producer as those films. Furthermore, the “bad guys” in the film all rode choppers and bore suspicious resemblance to the kind of characters who were featured on bike-building reality TV shows at the time. Even Jesse James had a cameo. The bikes in the film were actually pretty cool Euro machines, and there were some very cool bike stunts performed, many of them done by Mouse McCoy (of Dust to Glory fame).
Alas, all those real-life stunts were overshadowed by an incessant stream of lame CGI and other generally implausible hogwash. The video clip below is a pretty good example of all that’s wrong with the film. Sportbikes running down railway beds at top speed? Yeah right. A custom-built chopper that can evade the Y2K superbike? Yeah right. Jay Leno is going to ask for his money back. (also, the bad guy is able to take his hand off the throttle to shoot his pistol?). The real kicker, though, is the motorcycle joust at the end, complete with gratuitously blatant product placement.
Biker Boyz (2003)
This is another two-wheeled attempt to cash in on the Fast and the Furious bandwagon. This film about street gangs from California would lead us to believe there is a huge underground economy based around betting on illegal races, which supports dozens of riders in a comfortable lifestyle. At least the characters in Torque had day jobs.
The worst part of the film is likely the end, where California’s biggest race of the year, the contest for the title “King of Cali,” is held to determine who is fastest. Where do they hold this no-holds-barred sportbike showdown? On a farmer’s gravel road, that’s where. Who cares about traction, right?
The sad thing is, this film was actually made with a lot of input from local California racing clubs, so maybe the West Coast riding scene isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Along the way, there’s also questions about family and loyalty and race relations answered. Nobody found it too interesting in 2003, and it’s not any better now. See below for an angst-filled clip.
I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)
This one is going back a bit further in time. Having never seen it personally, I can’t comment on its exact level of degradation, but judging from the trailer, it’s pretty bad. Or, as one Internet commenter puts it: “There is honestly not much to say. The movie was simply very bad. Worst movie I have ever seen. Don’t be fooled by the DVD or VHS cover because that is the only good thing of this whole package. The movie repeated itself all the time and when it wasn’t boring, it was just confusing or making you wanna hit your head on the wall.The movie was trying to be very artistic. It failed miserably and only gave the audience a pure feeling of disappointment, frustration and wanting to throw the TV out from the window. If you love yourself, don’t watch it.”
Grease 2 (1982)
Deciding to cash in on the success of 1978’s Grease, Paramount released this stinker in 1982. The hot rods of the earlier film have been replaced with motorcycles, and most of the original cast wisely didn’t make return appearances. Lead actor Maxwell Kaufield said it took 10 years for his reputation to recover after starring in this flick.
The film mainly centres around a newcomer to Rydell High who decides the secret to success with girls is to buy a motorcycle. Musical hijinks ensue as he becomes a top-level trials rider overnight …