Hell Ride

USA, 2008
Director: Larry Bishop
Starring: Larry Bishop, Michael Madsen, Eric Balfour, Vinnie Jones, Leonor Varela, Dennis Hopper, David Carradine
IMDB: 6.3

Hell yeah - rampant nudity, over the top violence, convoluted plot, and clever dialogue - the popcorn and Disney crowd should stay well away. This is adults only baby - bless its dark soul.

Larry Bishop stars as Pistolero, the hard-living, womanising president of the Victors bike club. Sporting a devilish appearance with a spaghetti western stance and a biker attitude - he permeates the film with satanic arrogance.

He is backed up by a superb cast - charismatic performances from Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones and Eric Balfour, rounded off with 70's exploitation alumni Dennis Hopper and David Carradine. Relative newcomer Leonor Varela provides a sizzling sexy performance worthy of hell itself, and gets some of the choicest lines.

I don't know how much of an influence Quentin Tarantino had on the film as producer, but there are certainly resemblances to his work. Chiefly the stylish violence, witty dialogue, and homage to classic 70s films. I haven't seen any 70's biker films myself, but I recognise the references in style, camera-work and tone. Just imagine a classic 70s exploitation biker flick, with more brutal violence, more nudity, better looking women, a modern-style twisted plot, higher production values, and a script that occasionally takes the piss of the genre.

If that sounds intriguing, read on...

Aside from the QT factor, and the obvious spaghetti western and 70s biker film influences, at times I was also reminded of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers (in a Peyote hallucination sequence), From Dusk til Dawn, and even a touch of David Lynch when an ominous brooding atmosphere was called for in the interrogation 'business' scene. This film nods its homages so often it could cause whiplash! But it doesn't come across as a cheap imitation - at least not unwittingly. It takes all the best influences, grafts them into a coherent whole and spawns a new, shiny beast.

The misogynistic ethos of 70s exploitation films has been taken to the next level here as well. The movie is simply riddled with hot, horny women who exist solely as sex-objects. You'll find them naked, stripping, lap-dancing, jelly-wrestling, demanding to be fucked, being fucked, or supplying drugs. This totally fits the exploitative tone of the film, and provides a lot of eye-candy besides.

The dialogue at times is pure gold too, taking 70s b-movie cheesiness and going one better for some truly hilarious scenes. Leonor Varela's character Nada is the ultimate minx:

"Baby I was built for hell. I'm your devil-babe. I'm your very own private hellcat ... hell-hole."
or ...

Nada: "My pussy's on fire. Your thoughtfulness is giving me the burning bush. I'd like to have the Fire Marshal arrive on the scene. Quench the fire Mr Fire Chief. How about we get that fire hose out. Fire drill, fire truck me."

Pistol: "First the Fire chief takes a ride into the desert, THEN I put out the fire."

Nada: "What kind of fire department is this?"

Pistol: "Fire Resistant."

Nada: "Fire retardant if you ask me. You ain't the only fire truck in town you know, maybe I've got fire insurance."
Some reviewers have lambasted the film for its lame dialogue, but they're totally missing the point! This is a genre film that walks both sides of the line between homage and parody, never taking itself too seriously. It's very cleverly done through and through. But I'll probably need to watch it again and again to fully understand the plot.


This has just about everything I love in a movie. It's stylish, extreme, sexy, funny, well-written and well-made.


Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but for the genre and what they were trying to achieve, they really couldn't have done it much better. 9/10.

Screenshots - click to enlarge



Ventilation Shaft said...

I've heard a lot of mixed feelings about this one. Personally, I'm a QT fan, anything he makes (or is involved with) I'll watch eventually.

After reading your review, I think I'll have an absolute blast out of it.


I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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