FEARNET Movie Review - Hell Ride (2008)


I could be way off here, but I'm guessing this is how the movie Hell Ride was conceived: Writer / director / producer / star Larry Bishop (who hasn't done a movie since the rather awful 1996 flick Mad Dog Time) realized that he hadn't had sex with a gorgeous young starlet in several years -- and so he wrote a screenplay in which his character gets to grope, fondle, and caress about a dozen gorgeous young starlets. The "biker movie" idea probably came a few weeks later. But yeah, Bishop gets more than his share of tail in this tiresome and powerfully self-adoring little B-movie throwback.

Since I think the movie pretty much stinks and I'm about to explain why, I'll go the other way right now and tell you something nice: If you're a big fan of bare breasts, graphic violence, and ultra-pulpy dialog, then you'll definitely find a few isolated moments in Hell Ride that are worth savoring. Apparently the not-so-lofty goal here was to make a biker flick that's just as bad as all the other biker flicks that nobody remembers from the the '60s -- which makes Hell Ride feel a lot like the unloved and forgotten cousin to Planet Terror and Death Proof. Actually it feels more like a mini-movie that got cut from the Grindhouse package altogether, because it would have been a lot more amusing at 40-some minutes than it is at its present (painfully feature-length) running time.

Basically, Bishop, Eric Balfour, and Michael Madsen plays the world's baddest-assest motorcycle dudes. They bed hot women by the truckful, they kill enemies with style and splatter, and they talk in this ultra-stylized tough-guy cadence that sounds a whole lot like a collaboration between Quentin Tarantino and eight teenage fans of Quentin Tarantino. I "get" that the insipid and endlessly redundant dialog is supposed to sound like a bad screenwriter's idea of "clever," but the joke wears thin after fifteen minutes, which gives the actors an extra 60-some minutes to simply sound like idiots. "Bad on purpose" is still "bad," flick fans, and one can only take so much of the self-adoring irony before they start to get irked.

Once about 45 minutes of aimless meandering has passed, we finally get some small semblance of story: Our three anti-villains (or is it anti-anti-heroes?) are searching for a grave that contains something very valuable. Needless to say, Dennis Hopper and David Carradine are somehow involved. Trying to wade through all the flashbacks, druggie dream sequences, and ceaseless betrayals would be a fool's errand; Hell Ride exists just for the visceral, the obvious, and the deservedly obscure. Dig too deep and all you'll find are Roger Corman's fingerprints.

Little more than a sycophantic ode to producer Quentin Tarantino (and a shocking display of unwarranted ego from Larry Bishop), Hell Ride might wring a few chuckles from those old enough to remember biker flicks like Wild Angels and Satan's Sadists, and there's always something to be said for bare boobs and pointless violence, but the flick wears out its welcome long before it reaches the finish line.

And here's a question: If Hell Ride is supposed to be a grimy throwback to a seedy little sub-genre, why the hell does the movie LOOK like a Pepsi commercial?