Sometime in high school, I rented Roger Corman's Wild Angels at the local video store. I thought this was one of the coolest movies I had ever seen (next to the 1980 Flash Gordon movie). I thought "I've got to tell everyone at school about this." Of course, as was common with my classmates at Lebanon High School, they were uninterested in what I thought was a cool movie. Everyone that weekend had seen a movie at the local theater called Red Dawn. When I asked what Red Dawn was about, I was told it was about "a high school football team defending their community from an invasion by the Russian army." I replied "That sounds stupid!" Naturally, this lead to me being punched or kicked or something.
Let me proceed to explain why Wild Angels is a cooler movie than Red Dawn. First off, you have one of the coolest opening sequences in any movie. A mother watches her little boy on his tricycle ride down hill at break neck speed. She runs to stop him before he rides into traffic. She stops him and then looks around to see the head Angel, Blues (Peter Fonda), on his chopper lighting a cigarette (maybe a joint). She has a look of disgust and fear on her face a the sight. Fonda then revs up his bike and takes off down the road to the Fuzztone drenched theme song, "Blue's Theme" by Dave Allen and the Arrows.
Blues goes to a construction sight to tell his friend, Loser (Bruce Dern), that they found his stolen bike in Mecca, California. A co-worker (Dick Miller) starts lecturing Blues on wearing an Iron Cross, so Blues and Loser threaten to pull out his teeth with a wrench. Loser's supervisor yells at him, so he throws the wrench at him, which gets Loser fired.
|Yes, she does wear boots in this movie.|
The Angels try to retrieve the bike and get into a fight with a group of Mexicans that they believe stole it. The Highway Patrol shows up and Loser tries to get away on a patrolman's cycle. He is shot in the back by a patrolman. Later, the Angels, with the help of Blues' Mike (Nancy Sinatra), break into the hospital and take Loser back to their clubhouse, where he dies.
During the funeral, Blues lashes out at the minister. The minster ask Blues what he and the Angels "want." Blues yells, "We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man! ... And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that's what we are gonna do. We are gonna have a good time... We are gonna have a party." Parts of that speech were later sampled as part of Primal Scream's hit song "Loaded." There has never been any of the dialog from Red Dawn sampled in a song, unless it is crappy country song by Toby Keith, Daryl Worley or Zac Brown Band.
What sets Wild Angels apart from Fonda's other biker movie, Easy Rider, is that Wild Angels doesn't weigh us down with message and characterization. Instead Corman gives scenes of the bikers outrageous partying with beer, bongo playing, loud music, grabing women, fights and even "bull fighting" a biker. Easy Rider is cerebral, where Wild Angels is just mayhem on film. However, Easy Rider is a masterpiece and also has a better soundtrack.
Wild Angels spawned the whole biker genre. Red Dawn didn't inspire any high school football player hero movies. What kind of doofus would watch a high school football player hero movie? Maybe one that looks like this:
|A doofus who liked the movie Red Dawn|
I guess I should point out. I've never watched Red Dawn. I thought the plot sounded stupid in high school and I still think it sounds stupid. Why waste my time with that, when I can watch Wild Angels again on DVD. Besides, I've never heard of the director, so he must not have made anything else.
Of course, opinions like these are why I'm considered the super villain of the Ozarks!!! Mwu-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!