Despite the fact that Hell Ride is a confusing, amateurish and frankly pathetic attempt at cashing in on the Grindhouse aesthetic resurrected by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez (who positively put QT’s Death Proof in the shade with Planet Terror), the film does have much educational value. Just not in the way director and writer Larry Bishop intended…
I’ll get to the educational content in a sec. As far as I could make out the ‘plot’ involved two rival bikie gangs with bad blood that dates back to the 70s.
Bishop is the leader of the good guy Victors, with Michael Madsen and Eric Balfour filling key positions in perhaps the least charismatic group in history. Also Dennis Hopper shows up to be cantankerous and wise. For his part Bishop stands like he is forever taking a piss, and talks like he thinks delivering lines 50% slower than a normal person somehow makes him 50% cooler. It doesn’t.
Vinnie Jones is Billy Wings, the leader of the nasty Six-Six-Six gang, probably named to reflect their IQs. Billy and the boys don’t have much to do but ride around being anti social.
Just don’t ask Billy about the reasons behind his wings tattoos of many colours… The answer is not easy to stomach.
For 80 interminable minutes this poorly planned, poorly executed dross is hailstorm of stupidity.
Flashback. Serious chat about something inane. Yawn. Inexplicable nudity. Flashback. Death. Confusion. Another yawn. Bike politics. Flashback. Peyote. Confusion. End credits. What? More confusion. Sense of loss… Of 84 minutes.
Even after all that it is hard to summon the passion to hate Hell Ride, mainly because it’s impossible to understand and mediocre throughout. Pity is a far more apt response.
Back to the learning. Here are some of the many things Hell Ride taught me:
- Too many people see Tarantino recycling genres and content from the 70s and think ‘I can do that!’ Most can’t.
- If you put a maudlin flamenco guitar tune behind any scene it is automatically 74% more wistful.
- The ‘3 Bs of biking’ are Bikes, Beer and Booty.
- A $12 set can really look like a $12 set if filmed by a crew appropriately inept.
- Michael Madsen can’t act for shit. I don’t care what any QT devotee says.
- Bikies are offered sex 12 times a day by women half their age.
- Bikies have sex 13 times a day.
- Only a wah-wah guitar tune can accompany any decent peyote trip sequence.
- Mentioned before, but don’t ask Billy Wings about his tattoos.
- Related: Vinnie Jones should stick to roles as mute emotionless killers.
- Lots of confused young, surgically enhanced girls need money for college.
- Larry Bishop needs lots of confused young girls around to supply the scads of nudity that he obviously believes will set Hell Ride apart.
- Larry Bishop requires Quentin Tarantino to fund proximity to such young girls.
- All the money and boobies in the world can’t prevent Hell Ride from succumbing to the ‘three Bs of inferior filmmaking’…
Baffling, banal bullshit.
Final Rating – 4 / 10. As a filmmaker and writer, Larry Bishop makes a great anonymous extra in Quentin Tarantino movies. And nothing else.