Biker Boyz

on January 31, 2003 by Tim Cogshell
The single star awarded to this otherwise insipid movie is for the fairly gripping opening sequence (which is still silly in many ways) that features a well-designed motorcycle race and a powerful moment that sets the tone for what might have been an intense melodrama with a bit of nitro-powered action. Unfortunately, after this scene, the film degenerates into an unintentionally laughable mess.

Ostensibly, "Biker Boyz" is a biker club-culture movie, though the filmmakers prefer to call it a contemporary western. On closer inspection, it's really a pirate movie on motorcycles--there's even a character who wears a patch over one eye. The analogy is fun, but the movie is so bad it doesn't really matter. The story has young Kid (Derek Luke of "Antwone Fisher") going up against the Pirate King of the bikers, Smoke (Laurence Fishburne), for respect and the Biker Crown--Smoke's helmet. The Shakespearean hook is, Smoke and Kid's father (played quickly by Eriq LaSalle of "Crazy as Hell") were best friends, and Kid feels that his father was more committed to Smoke than he ever was to his own son. It's the nuttiest of melodramas in which people call each other out for motorcycle trick duels and dangerous races, and colors must be earned. There are also lots of silly outfits...pirate outfits.

The film is the product of juvenile filmmaking, from the ham-fisted acting to the boring staging of most of the action sequences (not defensible on the heels of "Fast and the Furious"). The feature debut of co-writer/director Reggie Rock Bythewood, "Biker Boyz" is a wholly inauspicious start. Even good actors are rendered powerless in the grasp of this foolishness; Vanessa Bell Calloway, Lisa Bonet, Larenz Tate, Salli Richardson, Terrence Howard and even the notable Laurence Fishburne are all rank awful. Appearances by novice actors like model Tyson Beckford and rocker Kid Rock don't help. Starring Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke, Orlando Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Lisa Bonet, Brendan Fehr and Kid Rock. Directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood. Written by Craig Fernandez and Reggie Rock Bythewood. Produced by Stephanie Allain, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Erwin Stoff. A DreamWorks release. Action/Drama. Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language. Running time: 90 min

Tags: Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke, Orlando Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Lisa Bonet, Brendan Fehr, Kid Rock, Terrence Howard, Larenz Tate, Reggie Rock Bythewood, biker, motorcycle, race, melodrama

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