ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  r.r. bythewood

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  action

LENGTH  -  110 minutes

RELEASED  -  31 january 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dreamworks pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  biker boyz

biker boyz - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from biker boyz at

buy the dvd from biker boyz at

in the world of underground motorcycle clubs, the undefeated racer known as smoke has his dominance threatened by a young motorcycle racing prodigy called kid.

shooting wrapped in late september, 2002 and ended up on the screen a scant four months later.


picture from biker boyz

picture from biker boyz

picture from biker boyz


zero out of four possible stars

It's hard to justify any part of a film whose positive elements can be counted on one hand by a man with no fingers. In an appalling waste of talent, this film succeeds in making one hundred mile an hour motorcycle races seem nothing less than boring. And it takes some rather good actors and forces them to perform a script that would have found a better use as the toilet paper in the bathrooms at DreamWorks. It's worth noting that the producers at DreamWorks usually have a better handle on what can be considered good moviemaking.

But considering this film's lightening fast trip from movie camera to movie projector (filming started in July of 2002 and the film was theatrically released in January of 2003), it doesn't seem like the guys in suits had enough time to consider what type of film they were unspooling. The film's fast track to green light probably stems from the popularity of racing movies currently. And while the summer 2001 hit The Fast and the Furious grabbed its audiences by the collar and held on tight for a fast paced couple of hours, Biker Boyz actually slows down in its final half!

Its almost inconceivable that a film would actually reverse pace and make the audience feel as though the film had been running for a good four hours. Because at the end of Boyz audience members might feel as though they've sat through a much longer movie than the tidy ninety minutes the film clocks in at. What feels like an epic length films is just the recipient of some very bad editing. And bad scripting. And unenlightened cinematography and special effects. Barring further comparisons to Furious, it still needs to be said that the special effects in that film look decades ahead when compared to this film.

Maybe the effects crew just didn't have enough time to put a decent set of CGI enhanced pictures on the screen. Or perhaps the director was looking for a more natural approach in showing the real speed of motorcycles through unaltered images. The first image of the film, or the first shot rather, actually gets the film off on a good note. And the crash that occurs in the beginning is the one high point of special effects wizardry. The first shot carries on for at least five minutes, letting the title sequence play over the introductions of the main players in the film. But after the promising beginning, the film descends very quickly into boring territory.

It almost halts completely when the characters aren't on the track with their cycles. In what appears to be an attempt to bring in a touchy-feely story to widen the appeal of the film (make it worthwhile for people not interested in biker races), the screenwriters thrown in enough melodrama to fill an entire Douglas Sirk movie. Though Laurence Fishburne and Derek Luke make their verbal exchanges spirited and their time on the track venomous, their emotions ring more true than the actual dialogue. Both of these actors have talent in front of the camera, but the words that come out of their mouths don't do the picture any favors.

The dialogue is lame all the way. And the biker antics get old real fast, when the editor deems it necessary to treat his viewers to repeated montage sequences of Boyz doing Tricks on their Bikes. There are only so many times an audience will find these Tricks interesting, after the tricks become repetitive in and of themselves. Rather than have a variety of action stunts, every stunt seems to be either one wheeled racing or motorcycles burning rubber. While the stunts are well-performed, they are too frequent to leave an impression on the audience.

Because it fails in both the action and the story department, Biker Boyz cannot succeed on any level. It is an action movie without a brain. But is also an action movie minus the action. The testosterone induced bikers have their chests puffed out like male peacocks waving their feathers for a good solid ninety minutes. And it's unfortunate that only one of the three main female roles defies the stereotypical stance on women in action films. Lisa Bonet is criminally underused in her role as a female biker (Who isn't lesbian! Who'd have thought it?)

With its fits and starts in story and action, Biker Boyz shows that an action movie can actually try to include a decent story and fail horribly at it. And it also demonstrates that one cannot rely on the action of a film to cover up mistakes in script (like the horrible dialogue). Perhaps if the screenwriters or producers had let this film marinate for a few months (or years, preferably), they would have seen how flawed a product they were producing. How in the world a director and his crew can make motorcycle racing boring and many times laughable (when itís not supposed to be) is beyond me, but this bunch managed to do it splendidly.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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