Thursday, August 12, 2010

“Is there any intelligence in that head of yours?”

Sports Films! Yeah, that’s a genre that isn’t overwhelmed by clichés. But today’s entry in the bad movie canon avoids a lot of sports clichés in favor of crime and biker movie clichés.So…I guess this is Sportsploitation then. Here’s 1969’s Five The Hard Way, AKA The Sidehackers. A movie so bad they named it twice.


So apparently side-hacking is/was a real thing, as the opening credits hammers home. Apparently you take a motorcycle and add a little sidecar platform with a few handrails to hold onto and then drive around a dirt track at high with a guy dangling on the side for dear life.

Anyway, after winning such a race, our hero and his fiancée spend five minutes or so frolicking through an idyllic hillscape in the most saccharine way imaginable. Sort of like the meadow scene in Attack of the Clones only more convincing. The Villain shows up, gets some maintenance on his bikes, asks the hero to ride with him and gets turned down. The villain’s girl hits on our hero, then gets rejected and falsely accuses Hero of doing naughty things, which then prompts the villain and his crew to beat the shit out of our hero and rape and murder his fiancée.

…Um. Remember when this was about the sport of side hacking?

Anyway, our hero decides to go on a murderous revenge spree to avenge his dead lover which culminates in a big shootout with the villain’s gang.

Spoiler….And then everybody dies. No, really.

You know, maybe this isn’t the best way to advertise a new sport.

Rommel: Ross Hagen plays a gravely voiced anti-hero with a shady past. Now he runs a small bike repair shop and side hacks on the weekends. Then he gets really mad (for good reason) and decides to kill the bad guy, but he tells the gang “no guns” which…well…I guess this Rommel isn’t a magnificent son of a bitch who’s book I should read.

Rita: Diane McBain plays Rommel’s ill-fated girl. Nice enough for a two-dimensional love interest.

Luke: Dick Merrifeld plays Rommel’s buddy/teammate. Luke’s a happily married family man and tries to dissuade Rommel from his murderous course of action. Being the only sensible character in the movie makes him the film’s badass.

J.C.: Michael Pataki plays the Villain with a great deal of scene chewing. He comes to Rommel’s shop to get his bikes maintained and then takes an interest in side hacking. Wears ugly medallions has tremendous mood swings and beats his girlfriend. He’s a complete ASSHOLE.

Paisley: Claire Polan plays JC’s abused and not very smart girlfriend that falls for Rommel, gets rejected and accuses Rommel of assaulting her, which causes the whole ugly snowball of the plot to roll down the hill. Kind of hard to feel sympathy for her.

Directed by Gus Trikonis. We get some scenes of side hacking that aren’t very interesting and this happens twice during the film. And only twice. They side hack twice in the entire movie. Which is about side hacking. And one is the opening credits. Then there’s the infamous “meadow scene” that is nothing but padding. It’s a fairly ugly film.

Larry Billman on story and Tony Huston as writer and I can say very little in their defense. Let’s see. There’s, uhhhh, tertiary characters with memorable nicknames like Nero, Crapout and Cooch/Gooch (varies depending on who’s talking). Yeah. I’ll settle with that.

Original music by Mike Curb, Guy Hemric & Jerry Styner. The song, “Five the Hard Way” plays over the credits. I have no idea what is the “five” in question or why it can’t take “the easy way.”

The Sidehackers/Five The Hard Way is pretty damn awful. It’s a bleak downer of a film where nothing good happens to anybody, and there isn’t a whole lot for the audience to do for the running time. Not exactly the most thrilling endorsement for the obscure motorsport of side hacking.

No trailer, just a clip of really, really bad dialogue to give you a taste of the hurting.

No comments: