A mythic motorcycle tale of father and son", this is the story of Manuel Galloway, also known as "the King of Cali", the president of a motorcycle club whose members are all African-American men, mostly white-collar workers who exchange their suits and ties at night and on weekends for leather outfits and motorcycle helmets. The focus of this story takes place at an annual drag-racing event in Fresno, as Manuel tries to retain his championship title. Written by
I'm sure there's a Greek tragedy or Shakespeare play with the same basic premise: Son aspires to be one of the great princes instead of a courtier, son loses father, son disappears, only to return as the heir apparent to the Prince's crown and all that.... such a plot has such promise.
But when you bury it under a bunch of expensive sportbikes, T&A shots, and juvenile stunts... blech!
As a moviegoer, I thought this was barely worth the matinee price. As a Shakespeare fan, I thought it overdone, washed out. As a motorcyclist, I thought it shameful (Passengers in shorts, spaghetti-strap tops, and heels? Racing w/o helmets? Stunting on a public freeway, in traffic, at night? These are NOT the role models you were looking for...) I will point out that a FEW lines in the movie did hint to the dangers of riding, especially 'extreme' riding. The crashes were definitely hopped up (not sure if a 500 lb superbike would sail spinning thru the air like a frisbee...) but no punches were pulled as to how badly you can get hurt on these things if you're not careful and FOCUSED. And Fishbourne's character, although definitely the most bad-ass in the whole bunch, showed how far skill, finesse, and restraint will go beyond blind luck, guts, and adrenaline. That is to say, he was on top the whole time, even to the last frame.
With the budget this film had (pretty much, the bikes alone are each worth 20G's or more) they COULD have made something with more emotional impact, more story, and a LOT less gratuitous teenage hormone inducer. So, if you see this movie, resist the impulse to go out and get a bike. The real world ain't like this at all. Riding like this in the real world will get someone (probably YOU) killed.
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