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  Rad I Want To Ride My Bicycle
Year: 1986
Director: Hal Needham
Stars: Bill Allen, Lori Loughlin, Talia Shire, Ray Walston, Alfie Wise, Jack Weston, Bart Conner, Marta Kober, Jamie Clark, Laura Jacoby, H.B. Haggerty, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes, Kellie McQuiggin, Beverley Hendry, Shawna Burnette, Graeme Davies
Genre: Drama, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Cru Jones (Bill Allen) is a teenage BMX rider who doesn't do anything more ambitious with it than use it for his paper round, although on that daily journey he does manage to fit in quite a few snazzy tricks, to the equal annoyance and delight of various customers. However, there are such people around as professional BMX riders, and Cru is beginning to see that he has the talent to join their ranks, especially when his smalltown home is to be the setting for a new, daredevil race known as Helltrack. The only problem is that the local council won't allow local riders to compete - but there is pressure to change that rule...

Back in the eighties, if there was a pop culture craze then you can bet that somebody either made a Saturday morning cartoon out of it, a comic out of it, or the ne plus ultra, the spin-off movie. So it was with Rad, the opus designed to cash in on the success of BMX bicycles starring no one hugely famous on the machines, but with a collection of oldtimers you might have recognised in support. If there was a situation where one of those bikes could have been crowbarred in, then the writers of this would find it, coupled with a sort of Breaking Away sense of purpose although with a notable lack of the same emotional impact. This was serious, after all, but now looks like one hundred percent camp.

So what you get are the professional riders arriving in town and revealing themselves to be utter jerks, looking down their noses at the locals and their efforts to add a sparkle of razzle dazzle to the mundanity of their existence. They do hold a parade in the newcomers' honour, but this is interrupted by Cru allowing a woman rushing home to drive across the path of the trucks and bikes, which doesn't endear him to the pros but it does attract the attention of nice girl Christian (sitcom star Lori Loughlin), who is part of the entourage. Next thing you know, she and Cru are going to the ball together to show up the so-called experts and dancing the night away to prime eighties pop stylings.

All while on BMXs, naturally, which in no way looks absolutely ridiculous and as if Torvill and Dean were having a joint nightmare about where their careers could so easily have gone after clinching the Olympic Gold Medals. So by this stage we're convinced that Cru is every bit as good as the pros, but the story throws up some obstacles, all of them class based. If the visitors are rich and privileged, then that's what the council aspire to be as well, led by Jack Weston blustering for all he's worth, and making up flimsy conditions for the locals to enter the race. After Cru qualifies for a place in the grand finale, there arises the problem that he needs sponsorship, but his pals have an idea about how to help out with that.

In the meantime, Cru romances Christian, and gives her an ass-sliding she'll never forget. Before you think, "Wait a second, what kind of family entertainment is this?", rest assured that an ass-sliding turns out to consist of sliding down a sort of wooden flume into a lake, which you might have hoped they'd have thought up a better name for. Somehow this charms the young lady, although she seems more captivated by the lush scenery and not the fact that she's been dunked in the water wearing all her clothes (not that this bothers her much either). But what you're wondering is, how is that stunt action? As this was directed by seasoned stuntman and stunt arranger Hal Needham, fresh off his Cannonball Run 2 fiasco, you can bet these scenes are plentiful, if overdoing it on the slow motion and coming across as if Needham was itching to blow something up. All in all, Rad is great for nostalgists, but if this means nothing to you, you'd be advised to stay well away. Music by James Di Pasquale.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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