Apparently director Reggie Rock Bythewood, the man behind “Biker Boyz”, doesn’t quite understand that he’s making a movie that’s meant to appeal to adrenaline junkies. The final result is a movie devoid of excitement, completely drained of energy, and as exciting as watching Harley Davidson bikers riding through your street on their “hogs”. Which is to say, “Biker Boyz” is shockingly dull.
One of the problems with “Biker Boyz” is that the screenwriters expect us to immediately be impressed by the “world of illegal street racing”; so enamored with their topic that they don’t even try to prove to us that it’s as exciting and great as they keep telling us it is Also, the races are basically between two guys riding in a straight line from point A to point B. Where are the turns? The dangerous obstacles? Nothing. Just a straight road from A to B. Oh sure, they use those nitro gas thingy just like the guys in “The Fast and the Furious” (the fans of which this movie was obviously meant to capitalize on), but here the race is still in a straight line. I mean, geez, it’s just not that exciting.
Laurence Fishburne, taking a break from “The Matrix” films, is apparently just as bored as we are with the whole thing. He plays Smoke, the reigning champ of the California racing scene. I’m pretty sure Smoke has a day job, but I just don’t know what it is. The only biker who seems to have an actual day job is Soul Train (Orlando Jones), one of Smoke’s loudmouth (and it goes without saying, annoying) bikers who also do sermons before every one of his boss’ races. Oh, and did I mention that the Black Knights, Smoke’s bike “club”, has more cadence than a squad of Marines?
Into the fray walks Kid (Derek Luke), a brash 18-year old and son of Smoke’s mechanic. (That’s right, Smoke has his own personal mechanic. Unfortunately the movie tells us exactly nothing about sports bikes, or any type of bike for that matter.) After Kid’s father is killed early on during one of Smoke’s races, Kid’s mother Anita (Vanessa Bell Calloway) drops a bombshell. Smoke, it turns out, is actually Kid’s real father! From here on the movie follows Kid’s attempts to not just beat his father, but overtake the Black Knights as the dominant bike club. And oh yeah, alt-rapper Kid Rock shows up as Dogg, another biker and Smoke’s arch nemesis.
The thing is, “Biker Boyz” really doesn’t deliver on anything it promises. No one goes into a movie called “Biker Boyz” to see an insightful study about a middle age motorcycle legend who has to teach his just-learned-about son the finer points of life. We want to see exciting races, exciting motorcycle action, and most of all, anything exciting. Except for what looks like a 3-minute music video later in the film, director Reggie Bythewood (I refuse to write his pretentious middle name again) fails to understand his potential audience.
Whereas “The Fast and the Furious” showered its racing scenes with loud crashing beats that literally made you sit up and take notice, Bythewood gives us soul music. Yes, you heard me right. Soul music during racing scenes. If “Biker Boyz” can be known for one thing, it’s the seemingly oblivious nature of its director, who must have had his head stuck up his ass while directing this movie, otherwise he would have realized that he’s bombing on all cylinders. Granted, something approaching credit should be given to Bythewood and his screenwriters for trying to turn a genre movie into something more profound. But I have to ask again: Just who did Bythewood think was going to come see this movie?
And yes, if you were wondering, since the cast of “Biker Boyz” is nearly all black, someone inevitably utters the line, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” I think it’s a law or something in Hollywood.
Reggie Rock Bythewood (director) / Reggie Rock Bythewood, Michael Gougis, Craig Fernandez (screenplay)
CAST: Laurence Fishburne …. Smoke
Derek Luke …. Kid
Orlando Jones …. Soul Train
Djimon Hounsou …. Motherland