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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Review: The WIld Angels

"Their Credo is Violence! Their God is Hate!"


With all due respect, this movie sounds a lot tougher than it really is. 

The Wild Angels is a 1966 biker film produced and directed by the notorious Roger Corman. Starring Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra, this film is about a motorcycle riding killer named Heavenly Blue (Fonda) who gathers up a crew of rough Nazi bikers (Some of which were real members of the Hell's Angels) to help him get a stolen chopper. After a conflict with the police, one of their crew is shot and killed. Then at his funeral, the motley gang gets wasted and turns the place into an all out biker party. 

I am a huge fan of and have nothing but respect or Roger Corman. He is the king of low budget cinema. He once said he could make a film about the fall of the Roman Empire with two extras and a sage bush. He has done great things for and inspired many film makers for decades now.

I did however, find The Wild Angels to be very slow and somewhat anti-climactic. It has great style and feel. And the cinematography on some parts is actually brilliant. It's very entertaining on a cinematic level. Roger Corman knows how to make a movie with almost no budget and still pull it off. On the other hand, the overall story lacks kick and plot. 

This film presents itself as an action packed violent ride. For it's time in 1966 it may have been, but all the action is at the end and even that is not the kind of action you may expect from the films tag line and mystique. Although it was banned in Denmark when it was first released. 

But that's what these films did back then. They would sometimes exaggerate through advertising to get you to see their movie. I don't blame them, sometimes they had to, and it worked!

I also am a fan of and have nothing but respect for Peter Fonda, but you don't really buy his character in this film. In The Wild Angels, he is suppose to be the hardest guy around, he is the biker that none of the other bikers want to mess with. I just don't buy it with him. It's not a case of bad acting, Fonda is awesome in Easy Rider. In Easy Rider, Peter Fonda plays an easy going, cool guy that rides a motorcycle. You could say he is like a hippie biker or something along those lines. I get him in that. It's a good fit and is totally plausible. He is the opposite in The Wild Angels and it just doesn't fit as well for him. 

Now don't get me wrong. I didn't hate this movie. I just didn't love it either. It's a stylish Nazi- Biker movie with some really cool scenes. I thought the soundtrack was great as well. It just presents itself as an action film when it is really more of a hang out film. And I love films that are plotless and we are just hanging out with characters, but only when I expect it. 

If you like 60's and 70's biker films then this is worth checking out for the sake of seeing it. I don't think it's the best biker film ever made and I don't think it is Roger Corman's best by far. 

Though I can tell you, this has one of the most interesting funerals you may see in film. 

And Nazi Bikers.....

As I said.....Interesting.

4 comments:

  1. Great Review. I would like to add a few of my thoughts. When Wild Angels came out in 66, it had great appeal to the anti establishment of the late 60s. It was so popular that it was the 12th highest grossing movie of the year. Yes, it probably seems tame now, but it has to be viewed in the context of the time. Actually it is pretty tame compared to some of the biker films released later. And talk about miscast: Nancy Sinatra as a biker babe! Plus it was a forerunner of a whole string of biker movies: Devil's Angels, Hell's Angels on Wheels, The Savage Seven, etc. and of course, in 1969 - Easy Rider(which I don't really consider a biker movie).

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  2. Yea, I see your point! In 1966 I can imagine this being a ballsy movie. And I agree, Nancy Sinatra was not a great fit! I forgot to mention her.

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  3. It is a good old biker flick with cool bikes and scenery

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  4. you can cop many rare Roger Corman DVDs on his website: http://www.newhorizonspictures.com/ .The reviewed title isn't there, but there are some good ones. Crazy that this guy is still producing this stuff.

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