QUENTIN TARANTINO PRESENTS: Hell Ride (2008) Larry Bishop
Production Budget: unknown
Worldwide Gross $350,000
This movie is the same feel as the Grindhouse pictures we saw last year. This time around we are getting a biker exploitation film. Hell Ride is about The Victors, a biker gang that 30 years ago wiped out their competition “The 6-6-6-ers”. But now the 6’ers are coming back with a vengeance with new leadership and the Victors have to come up with a way of surviving this new threat.
The movie is directed by Larry Bishop, son of Rat Packer Joey Bishop. Larry also takes up the lead role of Pistolero.
On with the good. Hell Ride does know how to embrace it’s cheesiness and have fun in taking shots at itself. It kinda does feel like a biker version of Death Proof. The most fun to be had with this movie, is seeing all the B-list campy actors having fun with this material. You have Vinnie Jones (trying his hardest to cover up his accent to sound like a SoCal biker), Michael Madsen, David Carradine, and Dennis Hopper. A truly funny WTF moment is when we see Madsen in a tree drinking a beer say “Hey! I’m an owl…hoot hoot.” Eh, you had to be there. Point is their eccentric performances really make the movie fun.
Now onto the bad. My first beef is with Larry Bishop going on the biggest ego trip as the main character Pistolero. Pistolero is…well, he’s the man. Pistolero is supposed to be more badass than Jack Bauer and Steven Seagal combined, sexually he is John Holmes, charismatically he is Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, and intellectually speaking he is Lex Luthor and Stephen Hawking. That’s all well and good until you actually see Larry Bishop and you laugh your f*cking a** off. Really, he looks and acts like he is a Rat Packer, only his classy suit is replaced with a Judas Priest makeover. He doesn’t have the look, and his “dig this” Rat Pack speech doesn’t gel with his gruff biker leader persona.
The other bigger problem is with the plot. I can’t believe I am complaining a biker movie has a convoluted plot but it does. Bishop gives us plot twists that don’t work, subplots that don’t pay off, and he fiddles around with the timeline with about 100 flashbacks which do nothing more but piss the audience off. This really isn’t rocket science here. All you have to do is give us a conventional plot of this new gang trying to take over the Victor’s territory and the eventual gang war taking place. Exploitation movies were never this complicated and I thought the point was to mock those 60’s exploitation movies. What really pissed me off what the lamest excuse for a “climactic final shootout” I have seen in a long while. It is the movie equivalent of a John Cena/Great Khali squash match. There is no suspense, no action, nothing at all. And after sitting through 70 minutes of build up, I want to see a huge action blowoff damn it!
In the end, I wasn’t really mad I saw this movie. It was mildly entertaining while I saw it but there are major, MAJOR flaws which will stop me from renting it again. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else really see it either. I would more suggest you rent this with some buddies and give it the old MST3K treatment as you see Michael Madsen go officially bat-sh*t insane on screen. Hey! I’m an owl. Hoot hoot.
Its now a year later and some perspective on this movie. I had rated this movie very low on my best of 2008 list. I don’t recall off the top of my head but it was near the bottom 10. I realize now I was still being too kind to it. I can see why Tarantino produced this movie. Its because Larry Bishop was sucking Tarantino off, cradling the balls, and working the shaft. Bishop tries SOOOOOO hard to write like Tarantino by writing long talkie scenes full of “witty repartee” but it is so goddamn annoying and stupid you shake your head in disbelief. The plot is convoluted, the acting from Bishop is a**, and the ending still pisses me off more than anything. The climax is absolutely god awful. Now before I said this was bad, but maybe in a so bad its MST3K funny sort of way. I dunno, maybe that’s still the case. All I know is Spoony and I were trying to riff on it and both of us giving up at one point saying “This movie just sucks.”