158_MovieReviewMotorcycle Gang
Directed by John Milius
Showtime Network (1994)
84 minutes, rated R

By Tammy Wanchena

“Made for television” worried me. Jake Busey worried me more.  But desperate times cause for desperate measures and a long, cold winter and my incessant need for white noise had me seeking out new venues for entertainment and caused us to stumble upon “Motorcycle Gang” on Netflix. If only I had not chosen to watch it with a dangerously low supply in the liquor cabinet.

Gerald McRaney is Cal, a former military man who is moving his adulterous wife and his sexually curious 16-year-old daughter to California. On their journey, through no fault of their own, they cross paths with a “Motorcycle Gang”, hence the clever film title. The gang is led by arguably one of the ugliest men alive, Jake Busey. By the time they run across Cal they’ve already killed two locals and ripped off a Mexican heroin dealer. So of course they kidnap Cal’s daughter and head for Mexico. It’s up to him to seek revenge and get his daughter back, using whatever means necessary, of course.

There are several laugh out loud moments in this film.  Like when some random hotel operating beatniks invite the ladies to their hotel room to pose for explicit photos. Or when a biker feeds a snake a cage full of birds. But what we like most in the film was it was supposed to take place in the days of Fabian (late 1950’s or early ‘60’s) and while the film makers took care to find vintage cars, they obviously didn’t care about the bikes. The “vintage” machines were just late model cruisers painted flat black to look ratty. In all fairness, we don’t blame them for not wanting Busey near any motorcycle worth more than $50. 

“Now their family is closer than ever” was my nephew’s response when the credits rolled for Motorcycle Gang. Suffering through this movie brought our own little family closer together. Nietzsche said “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” We certainly suffered through this movie, survived to speak of it, but I am not certain I am sure of any meaning beyond the typical “Beware of bikers”. 


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