The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Born to Ride (2011)
I came across this on Watch Instantly, and thought the idea of a biker flick with Casper Van Dien, William Forsythe, Patrick Muldoon, and Branscombe Richmond sounded pretty good. On the other hand, I've seen enough of these movies to know that that combination could go horribly wrong-- in fact, there was probably a better chance that it'll go wrong--, but I figured I'd give it a shot and see how it goes.
Born to Ride has Van Dien as a guy who rides motorcycles with Patrick Muldoon, and as the two of them are setting out on a long trip, they see an older dude getting worked over by some muggers. The guy gets stabbed, and on his deathbed, he gives Van Dien a box of money and stuff to give to his daughter in South Bend, Indiana. At the same time, in Arizona, a couple guys hatch a scheme to blackmail a senator while he's taking a payoff from William Forsythe. Forsythe is pissed at this, and he hunts the two guys down, though not before they hide the tape in one of Muldoon's bags. Now Forsythe's goons-- including Branscombe Richmond-- are hot on their trail. Will our heroes survive?
I think I got what I deserved on this one. All the warning signs were there, but I went for it anyway, and I paid the price. Where to start. Maybe the fact that the cover makes this out to be an all out biker flick when it isn't. There's no counterculture going on here, no badassness, none of that cool stuff we want from a biker flick. On the other hand, there's no action, no suspense, no drama, nothing to grab onto as a viewer. I'm not sure what this was supposed to be, a feel good Hallmark Movie event, a celebration of getting out there and hitting the open road, a 90s-style suspense yarn-- it was too all over the place to tell. And by the end of the 90 minutes, I'm left wondering why this movie was made at all.
As you know, I try to be solutions oriented here at the DTVC. I'm not just going to tell you what's wrong, but when the retort "do you think you could do any better?" comes, I like to see if I can. I think one way would be to pare this thing down, keep the blackmail aspect, but have Van Dien and Muldoon have to rescue the blackmailers or something. Either that, or go The Savage Seven route, have Van Dien and Muldoon stop at a reservation, and find the people there fighting greedy developer William Forsythe and his baddies. In that case, you make Branscombe Richmond a good guy, maybe a tribal leader who gives Van Dien and Muldoon some direction in their lives, something to fight for beyond just driving around and not caring about the world. It may sound like an overdone plot, but at least it works.
The fact that this went bad wasn't the fault of the actors involved, foremost among them Casper Van Dien. The character was actually pretty cool, but wasted in this script. He doesn't even confront Forsythe and his baddies, he just finds the tape and calls the cops. Let this guy do something. He has two fights in 90 minutes. He spends more time overcome with emotion than doing anything biker film-like, which would be great if this were a Hallmark pictures original; but then, why is there the Forsythe/blackmail angle in this? Again, all over the place, and ultimately not getting anywhere.
The other names in this were pretty good too. Patrick Muldoon played a real LA biker with his surfer-dude way of talking. It was pretty funny, but at the same time he could mix it up in a fight too, he just unfortunately didn't get too many opportunities for that either. William Forsythe was equally underused as a villain, going from menacing at the beginning, to just another guy yelling into a cell phone and smashing a tennis racket in anger. He would've been fantastic as an evil land developer. Finally, Richmond was an ill-conceived straight man for an even more poorly conceived comic relief bumbling hatchetman in the form of Forsythe's brother in-law. Completely sautéed in wrong sauce, as was much of this movie.
One area that, from what I could tell, was this movie's raison d'etre, but, like most of the film, was barely fleshed out, was this idea of hopping on a bike and tearing up the open road. No schedule, no place to be, the only destination is where we end up. It does sound fantastic. It would be great to get a small Indian motorcycle and see what this country has to offer, and through a movie we're supposed to be able to live vicariously through actors who are living out the things we couldn't do. It's another place that this movie could've been better but wasn't. What if they canned the whole blackmail/chase scenario, and made the movie episodic, three or four smaller stories where Van Dien and Muldoon help out some people in need, three or four human interest pieces that show America's vast regional diversity.
Unfortunately, this movie didn't do that, and really, didn't do anything else either. I have to confess, I was even taken in by the cover, because I thought it was of a woman in black leather pants, but it turns out they're just dark blue jeans. It's a metaphor for the whole movie, we're going in expecting some biker black leather action, and all we get is some dark blue designer jeans on some motorcycles. Don't fall prey to this one, take a pass.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1721491/