In Hollywood, as they say, it's not what you know. It's who you know. Some people don't know anything and still manage to get movies made. Take Larry Bishop
, for example. He worked with David Carradine, Michael Madsen
, and Quentin Tarantino
on Kill Bill. One day, after shooting, they probably got together for a few drinks and rambled about making a biker movie. A few meetings with the Weinsteins later, Hell Ride was given the green light.
Bishop played a strip club manager in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and directed the flop Mad Dog Time back in 1996. He writes, directs, produces, and stars in Hell Ride, so at least audiences will know who to blame for wasting their time and money. A self-adoring, offensively boring homage to biker movies of the '60s, Hell Ride is indeed one of the more hellish cinematic experiences this year. Article continues below
To call his screenplay a clothesline would be an understatement. At least a clothesline has shape. Hell Ride is all over the place, and never bothers to make sense of itself. Bishop, Madsen, and Eric Balfour
portray badass bikers. They shoot their guns often (both their pistols and the ones in their pants) as they search the West for a grave that holds an important object. There's unfinished business between several characters, and they aim to take care of such. Dennis Hopperr
and David Carradine co-star... for the sake of irony.
The movie is essentially structured around bare breasts. It's almost as if Bishop wanted to make a film for the soul purpose of seeing naked girls. The young actresses who expose themselves in Hell Ride should feel exploited and abused. Nudity adds spice to a story, and sometimes makes for a guilty pleasure. But it does not make an engaging movie experience by itself. If someone wanted to watch a bunch of bikers and boobs, they can visit a porno shop. Even horny teenage boys will have difficulties sitting through this 85-minute, mind-numbing nipplefest, which ultimately feels like a tedious household chore, although you at least accomplish something with a vacuum.
While only attached as executive producer, Tarantino's name will assuredly attract his normal cult following. After watching the film, though, fans may question the Pulp Fiction director's interest in working on the project at all. It carries his trademark over-the-top violence and pulpy dialogue, but completely lacks his intelligence. Hell Ride doesn't think with its brain, it thinks with a more southern part of its anatomy. Certainly, Tarantino has always loved naked girls and violence, but he's smart enough to incorporate them in a story. Here, the blood and boobs are the story. What there is of one, that is.