Saturday, September 26, 2015

BIKER BOYZ (2003)



Directed By: Reggie Rock Bythewood 
Written By: Reggie Rock Bythewood & Craig Fernandez 
Based On The Article By: Michael Gougis 
Cinematography By: Greg Gardiner 
Editor: Caroline Ross & Terilyn A. Shropshire 


Cast: Derek Luke, Laurence Fishburne, Brendan Fehr, Rick Gonzalez, Meagan Goode, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Lisa Bonet, Orlando Jones, Dijmon Hounsou, Larenz Tate, Kid Rock, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Dante Basco, Dion Basco, Tyson Beckford, Titus Welliver, Kadeem Hardsion, Terrence Howard, Nadine Velazquez

A mythic motorcycle tale of father and son", this is the story of Manuel Galloway, also known as "the King of Cali", the president of a motorcycle club whose members are all African-American men, mostly white-collar workers who exchange their suits and ties at night and on weekends for leather outfits and motorcycle helmets. The focus of this story takes place at an annual drag-racing event in Fresno, as Manuel tries to retain his championship title.

A son of the leader of a legendary group of an urban biker gang tries to retain his championship title.

It's easy to write this film off

This is actually more of a coming of age film. Where he lead leans how to become a man. An adult man. Trying to prove himself and his worth to a community. We see his rise and the lessons he learns. How he gets close to the edge of excess and ego in the lifestyle. How he must learn to forgive and let go take responsibility if he really wants to win and be a good leader and a good man. To be seen as one by his peers also.

It shows the trials of becoming a man. Starting off on your own, leaving home, falling in love, beginning your own business

The film begins to resemble a western. Similar to a revenge tale almost until best the end you realize there are no real villains in the film. No evil to face and it's more about rivalry and learning to let go and take responsibility. Don't let hate overcome you and our life and it's decisions.

Based on trailers and advertisements I was expecting a totally different film. I was pleasently surprised that I enjoyed this film so much and it actually touched me.

This film isn't the greatest, but entertains with a lot of heart. It is ,ore a male bonding film.

My fortunately the title doesn't make it appear to be anything special. I am sure the spelling of boys as Boyz was supposed to call back co-star Laurence Fishburne's starting role in the film BOYZ IN THE HOOD. It also makes the film seek tougher and more urban as for a while it was a trend. But even by the time the film was released that trend was already tired and not seen as cool anymore.

Also at the time it was going head to head with another film TORQUE. Which was more action-thriller type but also seemed to have the attraction of having more urban characters as a motorcycle gang.

Again, I will admit the filmmaking is nothing special, but what does make this film special is that it is more of a look into a subculture in a culture. That paints a different picture of what was thought of commonly of putting African-Americans in one style or type. As after this movie really has no villains just misunderstandings and secrets that seem sinister. Though are more a reaction to situations that are thought to be buried so long. It never seemed important to bring up.

This film also has a diverse cast. Not a groundbreaking big one. It at least leaves the door open to other races and cultures to buck the trend.

The film tries to be more of a character study. Though with it's confused direction and focus on visuals more than story. it ends up misguiding the audience. Who came for an action film. Which the film provides when it comes to become more about style then character. I can understand the need for flashes now and again to entice the audience, but only if your story is thin or going through a slow part. It also uses more visuals at times when the film should stay more grounded. Instead it ends up seeming at times like it's advertisement which suggested FAST & THE FURIOUS only with motorcycles.

Which then makes the film often get confused with the film TORQUE with Ice Cube for it's heavy minority cast with random Caucasians that one is more ridiculous and a cops and robbers type film. This film takes a look at a rising subculture. That could have been a docudrama in a certain way. Though the way it is filmed it never becomes believable and seems more filmed like an action film. That rarely goes into that territory.

The film stars Derek Luke who I always felt was a good actor very underrated and unappreciated. Especially for his performances in ANTWONE FISHER and PIECES OF APRIL. He is good here though not much to work with other then his looks.

Laurence Fishburne an avid rider in real life seems more in his element in this film and gives a much more relaxed and comfortable performance then he had In years, in the role.

It is nice to see African-American actors and actresses who at the time been long a set from the screen. It is also nice to see an African American film that isn't about crime or drugs or the ghetto.

The film does have heart for all of it's thin melodrama.

This is a one of a kind film that shows a kind of black nor collar elegance. Where everyone seems to have rivalries but comes together as a community. Even if the story seems kind of silly at times. The film has a special place in my heart if only because of the return of Lisa Bonet to the big screen. She is rarely in films so it is an added joy when she is in a film, especially a good one. The film also is the beginning of Megan Goode's sexy screen siren roles.

The film is more about creating something (community/culture)while holding up a tradition

The richness in the legacy no Matter how wild o haphazard it might seem. Creating a family and not by birth but by choice.

The inner workings, emotional and physical whole keeping the film more male oriented while noting the price the women pay and are paid. With a special spotlight on how leadership and fatherhood go hand in hand to a degree.

The story that it has isn't great and the advertisement makes it seem more like a thriller, but it is more a drama as the films lets he audience explore the culture and characters that make up most of the film.

Melodrama pumped in with the aggression, action with the good parts of testosterone

Think of the film as a more urban but less illegal and crime ridden SONS OF ANARCHY.

I respect that the film went more in a dramatic direction then falling into the way too easy trap of stylish action or revenge thriller like TORQUE that was ridiculous and really about nothing so that it felt like more of a commercial rather than a full fledged film.


Grade: B-

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