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  BMX Bandits I've Got A Bike You Can Ride It If You Like
Year: 1983
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Stars: David Argue, John Ley, Nicole Kidman, Angelo D'Angelo, James Lugton, Bryan Marshall, Brian Sloman, Peter Browne, Bill Brady, Linda Newton, Bob Hicks, Guy Norris, Chris Hession, Norman Hodges, Tracy Wallace, Michael Gillette, Brian Best
Genre: Comedy, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: P.J. (Angelo D'Angelo) and Goose (James Lugton) love to ride their BMX bicycles, but what they really want is a specially built track to race on, something that is notably lacking in their community. As they ride through town, a bank robbery is being staged elsewhere with the four criminals wearing three pig masks and one wolf as disguises. They smash through a large window with their van and take all the cash they can lay their hands on, then make a swift getaway. However, they have a bigger robbery planned that will be sabotaged by P.J. and Goose, whose bikes have been damaged, when they team up with Judy (Nicole Kidman), who has just lost her supermarket job that she was using to save up for a new BMX. The trio need a money making scheme - something the criminals have already...

I wonder if Nicole Kidman gets asked about BMX Bandits in her interviews any more? Sure, she won the Oscar, but I'll bet many people feel more affection for her in this film than in The Hours. Scripted by Patrick Edgeworth and Russell Hagg, it has the kind of plot the British Children's Film Foundation must have been kicking themselves they hadn't thought up first, and is a low budget cash in on the bike craze of the day. Boasting a disclaimer at the end that all the stunts were performed by professional riders and should not be imitated, which may or may not have been in vain, the film's first half is somewhat lacking in BMX action as the three heroes get caught up in the criminals' plans.

The teens find a box stashed in the sea while out looking for shellfish to sell, and declaring it salvage they take it back with them to dry land. On opening it, they find that, no, it's not a stash of banknotes but a box full of walkie talkies that the robbers need to carry out their next big theft. The teens don't know that of course, and set about selling them to other kids to raise funds for new bikes, which goes very well. Unfortunately they had been spotted by two of the baddies, Whitey (David Argue) and Moustache (John Ley), who are hot on their trail, leading to a tense chase through the local graveyard at night where Judy accidentally falls into an open grave and Goose follows her.

Nevertheless, the three of them manage to shake off their pursuers, at least until the next day, but things are complicated by the fact that the police are trying to track them as well, having picked up their transmissions. This culminates in the Australian attempt to wrest the crown of longest chase from Gone in 60 Seconds, about half an hour of Whitey and Moustache tearing after the BMX-ers on foot and in a car. The chase features the bit everyone who has seen the film recalls, the scene where the Bandits travel down a swimming pool flume to escape, complete with their bikes (although not actually on their bikes). It's all good fun, and with a neatly sardonic line in humour to go along with the more obvious slapstick stuff, although on the other hand I hate to say it, but I don't think Nicole did all her own stunts - she may have been doubled by a bloke with a curly ginger wig on! Music, which is, shall we say, of its time, by Colin Stead and Frank Strangio and listen out for the dynamic "whoosh!" whenever a jump is performed.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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