Ten Worst Motorcycle Movies of All Time – Part 1
The current weather has definitely limited any meaningful riding time. Sure, the rain cools everything down, but riding in the rain means being miserable in soggy riding gear afterwards. But no problem, let’s just watch some motorcycle movies. That’s when we remember how Hollywood (and Bollywood) have gotten motorcycle movies more often wrong than right.
There were many great ones, of course. Check out the original biker gang and rebel movie The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando from 1953. That was before he played his most famous role as Don Corleone in 1972’s The Godfather.
If war movies are your thing, there can be none other than 1963’s The Great Escape, starring the real Hollywood tough guy, Steve McQueen. (C’mon! Clint Eastwood doesn’t ride motorcycles.)
Like choppers? Why, Easy Rider (1969), of course! It’s probably worshipped in any serious biker’s pantheon of great motorcycle movies. Hey, it even launched the song Born to be Wild and the band Steppenwolf into cult stature. Both Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper went on to become Hollywood’s A-list actors.
The docu-movie Why We Ride shouldn’t be missed. It was a beautifully produced work of art that’ll even motivate non-bikers into selling their cars.
But let’s get into the worst motorcycle movies by chronology: the ones that you should never watch with your riding buddies unless you want to give up riding forever.
THE WILD ANGELS (1966)
The Wild Angels was the first film which portrayed bikers as modern-day barbaric hordes.
Sure, sure, the first rebel biker movie could be traced to The Wild One, but Johnny and gang didn’t sexually assault women everytime they turned off their bikes’ ignition.
Peter Fonda starred as The Prez of the fictitious Hell’s Angels San Pedro chapter, alongside Nancy Sinatra (daughter of Frank Sinatra) as his love interest.
The movie consisted of nothing but drugs, alcohol, fights, sexual assaults, fights with the police and choppers being trashed like they were stolen (maybe they were).
A film critic commented about the movie: “Ok after about 24 beers.” No one cared when it opened at the 1966 Venice Film Festival. In fact, the US State Department had attempted to block The Wild Angels from being shown in Venice, citing that it “did not show America the way it is.”
HELLS ANGELS ON WHEELS (1967)
The title itself should warn you away. What do Hells Angels ride? Boats?
Slammed by both critics and audience, Hells Angels on Wheels tells the story of a petrol station attendant who finds life “more interesting” after joining the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club.
Cue bad dialogue, missing plot, bad acting, crappy music, senseless fights, alcohol, drugs and all that. Almost no audience could watch it past 30 minutes.
However, Ralph “Sonny” Barger, the president of the Oakland, California chapter of the Hell’s Angels made a cameo in the film. He was credited as a consultant.
SHE-DEVILS ON WHEELS (1968)
She-Devils on Wheels is about a gang of Harley-riding ladies known as the Man-Eaters. These “hardcore” women ride around in pastels and Capri pants (shouldn’t they ride Vespas, instead?), race to win men, and cause trouble in small towns.
It may sound interesting, but nothing truly happens. The camera is stationary as the girls mill around, chattering inaudibly about nothing in particular. The races were slow-paced. The fight sequences were poorly shot. Even the orgy scene involving fully clothed Man-Eaters and male groupies was dull.
The best scenes were of a gang member dragging her helpless boyfriend around behind her bike, and decapitation by a metal wire. But they weren’t enough to rescue the movie.
COOL AS ICE (1991)
This movie starred rapper Vanilla Ice. Uh huh, the butt of everyone’s white-boy rapper jokes. The studio had wanted to capitalise on his fame but came away with melted ice-cream instead.
The so-called “plot” follows Johnny Van Owen, the leader of a motorcycle gang (his homies are apparently invisible because they never appeared), who’s also a travelling rapper, who fell in love with Kathy, whose family is under the Witness Protection Program.
Wait! It gets better!
Vanilla Ice performed all the stunts himself. That was admirable but not his acting.
Cool as Ice bombed at the box office and won 7 Golden Raspberry Award Nominations, with Ice grabbing the Worst Actor award. Director David Kellogg later disowned the film.
BIKER BOYZ (2003)
A man fights for cred on the streets. Okay.
To its credit, Biker Boyz was artistically well-made with great music, cinematography, action shots and beautiful bikes. The opening scene had a bike beating out two heavily-modified imports. Then it starts to feel like a bike with flat tyres.
Check out this infamous “Joyride” scene.
Never mind two of them wearing café-racer style helmets on sportbikes, but they have no glove and pull stunts on public roads, etc. And you wonder why bikers get no respect.
Laurence Fishburne’s talent was a waste.