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Peter Fonda plays 'Heavenly Blues', the leader of Hell's Angels chapter from Venice, California while Bruce Dern plays 'Loser', his best pal. When they both botch their attempt to retrieve Loser's stolen bike, Loser ends up in the hospital. When the Angels bust him out, he dies, and they bury him. Nancy Sinatra plays Mike, Blues' "old lady" and Diane Ladd plays Loser's wife (Dern's real-life wife at the time). The plot is basically a buildup to the last half-hour of the film in which Loser's funeral becomes another wild party. Written by
Bad movies are made all the time. Some are made by amateurs, while others are made by the highest of production companies. Along with that, some films even have a solid cast and still messed it up somehow. It should make viewers wonder to themselves what the heck possessed these actors to take part in such strange concoctions. In this mid 1960s film, Roger Corman, the man best known for The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) is in the director's chair. Starring in the film is a young Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra. Together, these two actors head a biker gang known as "The Wild Angels" (based on an actual biker group "Hell's Angels").
It's after the rolling intro credits where the narrative is lost. Credited as the so-called writer to this movie is Charles B. Griffith, a man who has produced several other works with Corman. Why didn't Corman see how bad the screenplay was? There is literally no part of the plot that is engaging enough for any audience. The only thing that is presented is the behavior of this gang, which doesn't help. The behavior of the gang is reckless, brash and even stupid. In one scene, a bunch of bonehead bikers hop on their bikes to chase a rabbit. A rabbit.
The mentality of this gang is to be "free" and ride their machines without having to answer to "the man". You know, the basic 60s perspective of most rebels. Roger Corman may have been trying to get this message across, but it is done in such a way that is so late in the running time, that by the time the topic is brought up, the audience will already be asleep. It's almost like he was just trying to capitalize on the craze at the time. Let's also not forget the symbol of "The Wild Angels" - the Swastika? Yeah, just how exactly is portraying this in any film other it being about Nazis or Charles Manson sound like a good idea? Point being, it isn't. No one should be proud to represent that symbol. How is that Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra and others found it to be a wise career choice?
The dialog isn't anything special either. The characters have no meat to them. Plus, there are little to any characterizations among the leads that are presented to the viewers. Peter Fonda's character says "Shut Up" way too often. Nancy Sinatra's character keeps asking if Fonda's character still loves her (and he can't make up his mind). Nothing is explained to why the characters act the way they do on a personal level. The sole activities that matter to this group of neanderthals is riding their bikes, getting high, getting laid and having meaningless brawls. None of it is appealing, all the way up to the very last minute of the film. Michael J. Pollard best known for his role in Tango & Cash (1989) as Owen even has a role and can't help lift the entertainment level. Forget background music, nowhere close to being on target with the tone of the film. No wonder the real "Hell's Angels" filed a lawsuit!
A story barely exists here. The characters are as transparent as glass, the music is irrelevant and the events that take place are meaningless.
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