After one crash too many, race car driver Rod throws in the towel only to be recruited by a motorcycle gang to be a getaway driver for their next bank robbery. Written by
Leo L. Schwab <email@example.com>
In the bar sequence, the "live" music fades out as a record track would (oddly enough, the band feigns a big ending after the music has already stopped). Equally revealing that the song has been dubbed into the soundtrack is the fact that the drummer is clearly not playing the beat heard in the song. See more »
Like a John D. MacDonald story gone wrong, but still watchable
"Wild Rebels" was probably a fun second film at a drive in movie triple feature 40 years ago. It hasn't aged very well, but it was never meant to age well; it was obviously intended to be disposable, forgettable fun from its inception. Taken on that level, it's a good example of the biker flick genre.
Several elements help distinguish it from the dozens of similar films being churned out at the same time. The 'hero', 'Rod Tillman' (Steve Alaimo) comes off as somewhat of an unimpressive 'Everyman' - he's not especially brave, tough, talented, or handsome (although he does win a fight with a tough biker gang member halfway into the film, and the girl gang member chooses to help him over her fellow gang member at the end of the film). The soundtrack is quite well done, featuring a nice 'Ventures' style bass/drum riff that keeps things moving and saxophones and brass charts that pep things up quite a bit. And although the script is pretty shallow, all the actors inhabit their cardboard characters convincingly and with a fair amount of energy.
There are plenty of careless technical gaffes: terrible 'day-for-night' scenes that occur in broad daylight, squealing tires in a swamp, fire sirens mistakenly stuck on the soundtrack instead of police sirens, a bank sign made of duct tape on a ceiling tile, a Luger that sounds like a Winchester 30-06, shotgun blasts that cut down people 100 yards away, a detective killing a biker on a 3rd floor landing from the ground with a revolver with a 2 inch barrel.
There are a whole bunch of goofy story elements : Linda (the girl gang member) disables a bank guard with a drug-filled syringe, the final shootout takes place inside a lighthouse (!), police roadblocks don't actually block roads, the police apparently never heard of ducking, and the police detectives apparently never heard of planting bugs or having their undercover guy wearing a wire.
But the plot chugs along, the cameraman knows what he is doing, the pacing in most scenes is pretty good, and there are some nice, zippy one liners and dialog exchanges here and there that keep the energy level up. (My favorite: "Man, you're messing with private stock! (ie, Linda)" So no, don't seek this one out or anything, but if a copy of the MST version should fall in your hands, you should have some good, shallow fun watching it. Vastly superior to "Five the Hard Way" or "The Hellcats" or even 'Girl In Gold Boots' (three other MST covered counter culture movies).
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