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Well, to start off, I have to say that Biker Boyz isn't a good movie.
However, it is better than the other recent bike movie, Torque, if only
because it tries to do something with itself. But it fails none the less,
perhaps for being too ambitious. The bike crowd watches the movie hoping to
see realism and some good racing. Instead they get straight-shot drag style
races, which in real life involve little to no actual talent on a machine.
Also, they'll be racing 160 mph one minute, and dead stopped the next. It
takes some time to come down from speeds like that. The movie also
frequently ignores the force of wind that would be present at high speeds,
with the racers hardly tucked in at all. The final race, much like many in
Torque, takes place on a dirt road. Apparently they aren't aware that these
high end bikes are often called street fighters.
Despite all that, there's actually an effort to tell a story. It's an admirable effort, but many of the parts just slow the movie down. It's often a painfully slow movie. Odd, since it's about a bunch of guys that race at speeds in excess of 100 mph. The story is a coming of age one, for both Kid and Smoke. They are both forced to confront issues, and in the end reconcile them. The biker clubs are set up to mirror, I think, a sort of community, and therefore Kid's efforts to rise in the clubs are supposed to represent his finding his place in society. The pieces are there, they were just poorly assembled. Folks most likely were expecting a quick, guilty pleasure like the Fast and Furious movies, and instead got a slow movie with mediocre action sequences.
The acting isn't nearly as bad as most are saying. It's not Fishburne's finest moment but it's not like it stained his reputation or ability, just look at his fine work in Mystic River. The writers made an effort to have three-dimensional characters. For example, After Dog's dirty racing forces Kid to drop his bike at the track, he lends him his own bike to take on Smoke. Granted, it's for his own reasons, but it's not like he's the evil villain parody going "mu-ah-ha-ha" off in the corner. I have to agree with another user that said it portrays black Americans in a positive way. They're not all stereotypes, they have their own personalities. Smoke is confident, but level headed. Soul Train seems the stereotype, but we see a totally different side of him when we find he's a lawyer.
So, it's not a good movie, but it makes an effort to be one, which counts for something. For all it's lack of realism, it gets points for not having the absurd stunts that Torque did, like flipping a huge street bike (with a helicopter jet engine, mind you) mid air, and riding on top and through the passenger sections of moving trains. Biker Boyz isn't good by any means, but it's not quite that bad.
The movie is barely even entertaining unless you are with a group of drinking buddies making fun of it. The only reason to watch the forced plot, weak dialogue, music video camera work waste of time is if you love motorcycles, and like watching stunts performed on them. Even then, if you really want to see that, just go get a specialty film. FOR BIKE ENTHUSIAST ONLY.
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.
The days of Harley-Davidsons mastering the road are over. Nowadays color
plastic coat the fastest and most coveted motorcycles in the land, and
`Biker Boyz' heralds the passing with unrestrained glee.
Set among African-American biker clubs in Southern California, the film follows Kid (Derek Luke), a prodigious young motorcycle racer, in his quest for the title of `King of Cali,' currently held by Smoke (Lawrence Fishburne), leader of the Black Knights bike club. Smoke hesitates in accepting Kid's challenges, citing that Kid is not a member of a legitimate club. In one scene, Kid addresses Smoke's assistant with anger and frustration: `Are you racing? Or are you just blowin' smoke?' Kid begins his own club (the aptly named `Biker Boyz') and sets out for the crown of fastest biker. The rest of the film follows a sort of formula we have seen before, with the underdog taking on the inhumanly skilled antagonist at the end. Though the plot is weak, the talent both onscreen and off push the film into something the script alone could not hold. The actors, for the most part, excel in their respective roles. Fishburne turns what may have been a trivial role into one exuding sincerity and masculinity, holding to an effectively pensive and reserved demeanor. His presence on the screen legitimizes the film as not just another `Days of Thunder.' Fishburne's charisma must have extended to the rest of the cast, as even Kid Rock, who made his film debut in 2001's deplorable `Joe Dirt,' portrays his character with gusto and road-wise scruffiness. Director Reggie Rock Bythewood makes his presence felt in the film. Bythewood made a splash at Sundance a few years ago with his debut `Dancing in September.' With `Biker Boyz,' he manages to pull off something slightly extraordinary: he makes motorcycle racing entertaining. The camera freewheels around smoking tires, colorful racing suits and bouncing nightclubs with dizzying ease. His film is loosely based on a feature from the Los Angeles New Times on the biking subculture in California, and Bythewood tries to bring a sense of biker culture to the screen. The nonfiction foundation of the film shines through, displaying a bizarre sense of camaraderie between cyclists similar to that of a fraternal order.
Despite its basically inane premise, the movie is not all bad. The poor title and plot outline summons memories of `Rollerball' and the like, but do not be deceived. `Biker Boyz' inspires some sense of genuine excitement and intrigue. As entertainment, it works on the same level as last year's `Spider-Man.' It cannot be praised as a piece of art, but the craftsmanship of the film is undeniable, which grants it a begrudged recommendation.
To begin with, I wasn't expecting really much from the film at all. More
less, I anticipated a "Fast and the Furious" with motorcycles. However,
to those expectations, the film falls way short. I was given the rather
EXPECTED mediocre plot and cast of stereotypical characters; in addition
the rather UNEXPECTED monotonous action sequences and poorly
While I spent 90 minutes wondering why these "hardcore" street racers had chromed-finished, colorful, graphic-designed bikes that looked like they were ready more for a show than any race, I kept watching these races that felt like the bikes were going 25 mph rather than the 200 mph their speedometers were reading. Each of the ~ 5 races in the film are pretty much exactly the same, and the final race is, to say the least, predictable and lame. I won't even begin to discuss the 'realism' of any of the races because I don't believe the movie is to be taken that serious in the first place...which is unfortunate.
The verdict? Its a shame to say "save this movie for a rental night", because a movie of this nature should have only been appreciated on the big screen.
Kid is the son of Tariq aka "Slick Will", engineer to Smoke, who is the
leader of the Black Knights motorcycle group and a legend on the
streets. When Tariq is killed in a motorcycle accident, Kid drops off
the scene for six months but returns determined to become more than
just a prospect. His ultimate aim is to challenge Smoke himself and
make his mark by taking down the biggest dog there is but first he must
go legit and set up his own motorcycle gang with friends Stuntman and
Opening with a really nice tracking shot (or series of shots, I'm not sure) this film had my interest early on but very quickly blew it. With an obvious and predictable establishing scene, the narrative arch is established and thus I began my weary trudge from start to finish, through countless music video scenes, unconvincing dialogue scenes and loads of motorcycles. It is very basic stuff and it never aspires to much. The characters are cut out of cardboard and the dialogue is awful, this might cut the mustard if the film was an out and out action film but it isn't. Instead it is supposed to be a character driven film and thus it is a big problem for it to not have characters or convincing dialogue. Sadly it is a mess in regards the writing and plotting and only the forgiving will find the material worth two hours of their time.
The action is pretty weak. I didn't think any of the races were exciting and although they are well done, all of them could have sorely used the emotions of the characters to feed into them. As it is the failure of the plot means that much of the film is lacking and feels rather pointless. Occasionally it hints at depth and humanity but the occasional spark is totally drowned out in a sea of noise. The music video goals of the film are met but personally I'm glad not to be in the demographic sector that is tricked into thinking that this makes for a good film.
The cast are mixed, containing people that I expected better from and people that deserve stuff like this. Fishburne may well have expected more from the film because at times you can see him reaching, sadly he cannot achieve the impossible and any glimmer of a good performance is swamped. Luke struggles from the start. He is pretty and charismatic here but he can't deliver emotion and understanding that isn't in the script and his narration is terrible. The support cast are roundly average with obvious performances from Jones, Hounsou, Fehr and others. Good is sexy but pretty vacant while I'm not sure why Bonet bothered to turn up for so little.
Overall then a fairly pointless film that shrugs off any character potential it may have had in favour of MTV visuals, clunky dialogue and mostly average performances at best. You can see the potential in the story but across several aspects the film fails to deliver this potential and just churns out a totally unnecessary film that doesn't deserve any of your time.
This movie is absolute rubbish. Not only is the plot incredibly predictable, but the realism is non-existent. As someone who's been riding street bikes for many years, I was horrified to see the characters racing with very powerful bikes on gravel roads, clearly smaller capacity bikes beating faster ones on a straight road where no real skill (apart from a good launch) is needed and one of only two female bikers in the movie suffering the usual lesbian stereotyping. I can almost see the movie executives sitting in an office and going "hey let's cash in on Fast & Furious by doing almost the exact same thing, but with bikes". Crap, rubbish and a waste of good actors' talent.
This movie was a complete flop. Had Bythewood been smart enough to use the original unedited script as opposed to the one he and Craig hacked together he would have had a great movie under his directing debut. As it stands he has put together a flop (as evidenced by all the critics) and it shows that plagery gets you nowhere Reggie. You should have known better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My name is Simon Jago and below is my review of 'Biker Boyz'. I have no
intention of elaborating my comments but have to produce a minimal
amount of words in order for my comment to be published.
Here's the back story to my viewing experience of 'Biker Boyz'. It was late on a Saturday night and I was writing my Dissertation for uni, and turned on the TV to have something on in the background. 'Biker Boyz' started and I thought I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and leave it on, boy was I wrong:
REVIEW: 'This film is nothing more than a collection of established black actors, exploiting themselves in a horrible fast and the furious rip off with bikes.'
BEST BIT: The tunnel vision that Laurence Fishburne uses to filter out the nonsense in the film to enhance his racing in a straight line abilities.
SPOILER: THE OTHER GUY LEARNS TO USE IT AT THE END
I saw Biker Boyz last night. While the plot was horrendous and hard to
follow, I thought the acting wasn't bad. The editing and cinematography
done to try to give the audience the feel of being on a bike at 100+
per hour. I wouldn't say see this movie if you are looking for quality
plot, but as your basic standard hollywood fare, it's no worse than some
the other crap that's out there. I really also enjoyed how the movie was
NOT violent and they showed how Black people can have a great time w/o
and violence (notice the only weapon in the movie is brandished by the
Italian gang). I also really enjoyed Orlando Jones' performance. See if
you can try to spot the many appearances by stars from the past - Sally
Richardson, Kadeem Hardison and others!
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