Wild Hogs - Movie Review
By Walter F. Kern
I'm not a professional movie critic. I haven't seen thousands of films so I can compare one with another. I'm just a guy who rides motorcycles and writes about the motorcycling experience but I do know that I had a good time watching the Wild Hogs movie starring about a dozen of my favorite actors.
This movie was hyped for weeks on TV with at least five of the stars making the talk show circuit and showing clips. In fact, I think they let out too many clips. In fact, the first scene was a well known TV promo clip.
With the likes of Tim Allen, John Travolta, William H. Macy, and Martin Lawrence heading the riding cast, you know it's going to be played for laughs and it was. The usual obligatory potty-mouthed humor was sprinkled throughout. Not sure why this is necessary but it does keep the audience laughing, waiting for the good parts.
I'm a big fan of Jill Hennessy of TV's Crossing Jordan fame. She played the wife of Tim Allen's character. She appeared in the beginning and at the end of the "road trip" that the guys decided to go on to get away from their dreary lives.
I'm an even greater fan of Marisa Tomei, Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actress in 1992 for My Cousin Vinnie. She played William H. Macy's love interest on the road.
There was also a small supporting role by Jessica Tuck who played "Family Mom" in a swimming hole scene. Jessica has had roles on some of the TV soaps and prime-time drama shows. She's another of my favorite actors.
There were surprise cameo appearances by four other well-known people who will remain nameless. Their appearances caught your attention, especially one.
The story is pretty predictable with four middle-aged guys, who already ride motorcycles, deciding that it's time to get on their bikes in Cincinnati and head out to the Pacific Ocean. They are adrift in their normal lives and just need to get away and have an adventure with nothing planned. They wear jackets emblazoned with the name "Wild Hogs," thus the name of the movie. There are lots of riding scenes you will identify with, especially getting caught in the rain.
I've taken road trips with friends but never had misadventures like these four had. Serious action begins when they happen upon a biker bar in New Mexico and meet up with the Del Fuegos gang headed by Jack, played by Ray Liotta. From the moment the four riders enter the bar, the gang members know they're a bunch of poseurs and confront them. One thing leads to another and before long the gang takes Macy's Sportster and gives them a rickety old sidecar in return. Travolta's character decides to sneak back and get the Sportster on his own. He figures out a way to accomplish this feat and almost gets away with it when Jack sees him riding away. Then the unexpected happens and the Del Fuegos begin a campaign to seek revenge.
I must admit that I was a little worried about whether the four Wild Hogs would ever get out of their troubles with the Del Fuegos gang. But the writers came through with more laughs and an expected satisfying twist.
The movie was filmed mostly in New Mexico with great scenery on motorcycle roads. You'll also get a chance to look at an old leather helmet as worn by Macy -- not recommended for real motorcycling.
I'm afraid that many people will see this movie and get the urge to run out and buy a motorcycle. Hopefully, no one reading this is in that category but if you are, please think about what you're doing. The proper way to take up motorcycling is to get trained first, buy and wear protective apparel and a helmet and start out on a used bike. After you've ridden for a year or so, then seek out something new. Avoid the crotch rocket sportbikes unless you are well trained and have extremely sharp reflexes. Read my five-part article, You CAN Ride a Motorcycle for all the details.
This movie had many scenes where the four riders were riding almost grip to grip down the road at high speed. To my mind this was done for purposes of showing the group together in one close shot. In the real world, we always recommend staggered spacing of bikes so you have a cushion around every bike. That gives you time to react to situations that can occur without warning.
The critics have given mixed reviews on Wild Hogs. It's not going to win any Academy Awards. It's a fun movie where you can see your favorite actors out riding motorcycles. Most of the riding was done by the actors. There were a few mishaps and some stunts used doubles but for the most part, these actors are riders just like you and me -- except they portray motorcycling with humor and relate adventures that most of us wouldn't find fun to do.
I always stay until the end of the credits. Usually, that makes me the last person out of the theater. I suggest you stick around for the early part of the closing credits for this movie.
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Picture © Touchstone Pictures
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