Thursday, July 3, 2014

Devil Rider (1970)



Seeing as how the major tropes of the biker-movie genre were clearly established by 1970, it’s amazing how badly the makers of Devil Rider missed the mark. Seriously, how challenging would it have been to assemble simplistic footage of leather-clad dudes brawling, cruising, and screwing their “mamas”? Yet from the first frame of Devil Rider to the last, cowriter/director Brad F. Grinter seems utterly confused about what sort of movie he’s trying to make. For instance, even though Devil Rider is ostensibly about a reckless young woman who hooks up with a motorcycle gang, and the ensuing attempts by her family to rescue her, Grinter wastes an inordinate amount of screen time investigating the psyche of a hooker who was once traumatized by a kidnapping/gang-rape ordeal. In addition to seeming quite irrelevant to the main story, the whole hooker/rape thing is handled with a queasy style that falls somewhere between mildly exploitive and mildly sensitive, so the main reaction this distasteful material elicits is bewilderment. Grinter also gets mired in subplots related to a karate instructor and a private investigator, and he wastes a good three minutes of the film’s very short running time (75 minutes) on an extended musical number. In perhaps the picture’s most ridiculous scene, the middle-aged (and totally sqauresville) P.I. dons a stupid wig before attempting to “infiltrate” a biker gang. His ruse lasts about one minute before one of the bikers yanks off his wig and IDs him as a spy. Soon afterward, the P.I. is tied to a tree and repeatedly impaled by bikers who attack him like jousting knights—but the moment he’s freed, the P.I. bops around as if he’s not even tired, let alone wounded. Does it even matter that the acting, cinematography, editing, and music in Devil Rider are as amateurish as the storytelling? Probably not.

Devil Rider: LAME

1 comment:

William Blake Hall said...

There seems to be a truly bizarre typo here. "Ross Kananza" is almost certainly stunt man Ross Kananga. Not only did he work in the Bond movie "Live and Let Die," but his name got used for the villain played by Yaphet Kotto.