At first glance, Hell Ride seems like it might be a sweet flick, paying homage to the gritty biker B-movies of the 60's and 70's, while offering the grindhouse sort of cheekiness we've seen in Tarantino's work again and again. Hey look, Tarantino even has his name on it! Ooh and look at that cast: Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Dennis Hopper, David Carradine. Tough guys, all of 'em. Ain't no way they can mess this up, right? Right?
WRONG! F***ING WRONG! They can mess this up, and they do. And by "they", I really mean the film's writer, director, and STAR, Larry Bishop. You might remember Bishop's first movie "Mad Dog Time", also known as "Trigger Happy". If you don't, that's okay, because most people haven't. Know why? Yep, it sucked. Big time. It ALSO had an awesome cast (Jeff Goldblum, Richard Dreyfuss, Gabriel Byrne), as well as a great premise (gangsters shoot each other to take over Crazy Vic's spot as the Godfather). But the problem is Bishop's pretentious writing and inappropriately artsy directing.
Bishop plays Pistolero, the president of the feared biker gang, the Victors. When a high-ranking member and close friend is killed by the rival biker gang, the 6-6-6er's, Pistolero decides to exact revenge. But there may be more to his revenge scheme than everyone suspects. His most loyal members tag along, including The Gent (Madsen) and Comanche (Eric Balfour). Their main target is the leader of the 6-6-6er's, Billy Wings (Jones), who carries around an air-pressurized crossbow (awesome!!!) and has a taste for dead p**** (disgusting!!!).
Along the way there is some shooting, naked chicks, a lot of swearing, more naked chicks, mushroom hallucinations, blood, more naked chicks, motorcycles, and, you guessed it, more naked chicks! Now, I like seeing oiled-up, nude, hot girls as much as the next guy, but it just seems unnecessary at times. I mean, how many women do you know that would throw themselves to these fifty-year olds covered in road grit and dirt?
This brings us to the man who f***ed it all up: Mr. Bishop. Everybody talks in this movie like . . . well, they're in a movie. They say that the code of the bikers sre the three B's: bikes, beer, and booty. Booty? Since when has a biker ever said "booty". Maybe a** or tail, but booty? Who's been loaning the Hell's Angels Sir Mix-A-Lot CD's? And the monolouges . . . aye aye aye, the monolouges. It's all downright embarassing.
And why does Bishop insist on playing the lead role, when he can neither act, nor look tough? Well, at least the gunfights are cool, right? Ha! For there to be a gunfight, there would have to be an EXCHANGE of gunfire. Rather, the shoot-outs go like this: We see two characters, one of them takes out a gun, shoots him, and falls down. That's it. There's not even a cool exit, it just cuts to the next scene. And there must be some sort of law against wasting a talented cast like this. They all just stand around, drink, say something, or get shot.
Hell Ride has good performances from its underused cast, decent camerawork, and a great premise (along with the Tarantino seal of approval), but it's all just a pretentious mess. Don't bother.