Written by Jason Flick
November 6, 2008
Bikers… free roamers of this great yet dysfunctional nation and the subject of various movies. Biker films were a hit back in the 60s and 70s with films like “The Savage Seven” and “Easy Rider”. Larry Bishop and Quentin Tarantino bring back the genre with the non-linear (a Tarantino staple) film Hell Ride. Hell Ride is the story of bad-ass Victors biker Pistolero, played by writer, co-producer and director Larry Bishop, who along with The Gent (Michael Madsen) and Comanche (Eric Balfour), hit the road to avenge the death of Pistolero's old lady Cherokee Kisum (Julia Jones) by a rival motorcycle gang called the Six Six Six's. Dennis Hopper stars as Eddie “Scratch” Zero, an old member of Pistolero’s gang to round out the gang.
The Six Six Six’s, a satanic biker gang with a crazed arrow wielding leader named Billy Wings, played by Vinnie Jones along with bike riding legend David Carradine as The Deuce, are responsible for the death of St. Louis, a member of the Victors, and want nothing more to take over Pistolero’s turf.
Hell Ride is a film filled with hot women, awesome bikes and enough action to satisfy anyone looking for a good ride. The story is solid and well written by Larry Bishop who has had some past experience in the genre. He was in the films “The Savage Seven” and “Angel Unchained” and gained cult popularity for playing scruffy bikers. It was Larry’s knowledge and experience and Quentin’s backing that eventually led to Larry leading this film.
While this film has various different stories going on at once, the main underlying story is a promise made by Pistolero to his departed lady and his undying wish to complete that promise. The thing about this film and Larry Bishop’s character in particular is that you never really know how it’s going to work out, or what kind of person you are dealing with. One minute Pistolero is calm and seems like a nice guy and the next he is a man that you wouldn’t want to piss off in a bar. This is what I really about this film above all else.
Besides the underlining story there is the ever more pressing matter involving the return of the Sixers. One by one Billy Wings is taking out the Victors, and later we find out is looking for the same stash that Pistolero is. But the treasure that Pistolero isn’t just the one that Billy wants, no it is so much more.
There is one thing that I will mention about this film that is misleading thanks to a quote on the DVD box. The gunfights in this film are not what I call awesome. Sure they are quick, sudden and subtle but not what I would call a gunfight as they are pretty much one sided most of the film. The one thing that I will agree with the quote is that there are badass characters in this film. I mean you have a stellar cast playing some of the most ruthless bikers in a movie. Michael Madsen, Eric Balfour, David Carradine, Dennis Hopper, and Larry Bishop are all amazing actors in my book and they alone make this film.
All of the bikes were carefully chosen to reflect its rider. Pistolero’s bike is an early 70’s Outlaw FLH bike, which is mean looking, and without any polish while The Gent’s bike is a flashy chopper with apehangers or really high handlebars for the less biker savvy crowd. Comanche on the other hand rides a 40’s Indian Bobber, which is a hard bike to learn how to ride on.
Bishop also uses a lot of beautiful girls in the film to emphasize the three B’s, Bikes Beer and BOOTY!! This film is load with hot and I mean HOT girls. It gives the film a bit of authenticity as to the lifestyle of bikers back then and Hell probably even today too. So guys watch the drooling, it’s dangerous for the relationship.
There are several visual effects that this film uses to great effect and adds to the biker movie feel. There are moments when the film is in black and white, Technicolor (as in acid trip) and in full color. The usage of freeze shots where the name and affiliation of a character pops up on screen is also pretty cool as well.