Friday, October 22, 2010

Born to Ride (1991)
Dir. Graham Baker
Genre: Action/Period Piece

"...That's the wave of the future? Get a horse!"

Don't be fooled by the steamy Stamos video cover art, Born to Ride is actually a pretty decent movie.  The production quality is higher than expected, the acting is fair and the story is stupid, but it's at least well written.  The best and worst part of this movie is it's star Uncle Jesse John Stamos.  It's really his steamy-eyed sarcasm and ho boning that make this a B-movie.  If they had put another actor in this role, it may have actually made some money, but thankfully they didn't and thus we have the cheese-fest that is 1991's Born to Ride courtesy of John Stamos' shit-eating grin and perfectly manicured eyebrows.  Swoon.  Try to keep your pants on while enjoying the trailer below.

John Stamos.  Bad to the boner.
Another thing about the video cover that might throw you off is the time period.  Although it appears this is going to be a 80's biker flick starring ruggedly 80's John Stamos, it's actually made in the 90's and is set in the 30's.  1939 Kentucky to be exact.  Stamos plays lawless biker and all around cad Grady Westfall who while riding his hog on the highway, spots a pretty lady and decides to follow her.  Thankfully if it's Stamos, it's not rape.  Turns out she's on her way to a military event attended by her father, a Colonel in the United States Army.  The event is a presentation to members of the military about a new Army unit "of the future" where the soldiers ride motorcycles rather than the traditional horses.  Unfortunately, the showcase doesn't go well since the soldiers of the unit can't ride a bike for shit.  Grady crashes the event and in order to get laid impress the girl, he rides around the arena on his motorcycle doing tricks and showing up all the bumbling bike soldiers.  He's arrested and soon after is visited by an Army Colonel who offers to bail him out in exchange for teaching his Army cavalry how to ride. 

Colonel Deves: "...You ride that thing like most people walk on two legs."

Dirty.  The Colonel was so impressed by his skills at the event, he's willing to enlist him and even giving him the rank of Corporal, no boot camp or VD test required.  Unfortunately for the Colonel, he must endure several steamy Stamos eye squints and bad sarcastic one-liners before he agrees.

Colonel Deves: "...I need someone to teach my men how to ride them machines and you're the man to do it."
Grady: "...The dream department is down the hall."

Obviously eventually Grady agrees to take the gig and he is taken to the Army base and suited up.  I'm pretty sure 85% of the reason this movie was made was just an excuse to put John Stamos into a uniform.  Grady meets with conflict at the base from all the soldiers in his unit who rightfully wonder why he didn't have to shave his hair off and also why he outranks them with no military background.  Well, I assume this is where all the homoerotic aggression from all the men comes from.  Either way they try to harass, bait and fight Grady in the beginning while Grady just flashes that shit-eating grin, makes sarcastic remarks and continues to try and bone the Colonel's daughter.

"Oh these?  They're my red wings."
After a few training montages highlighting Grady's rapist wit and unorthodox methods, the men in his unit have grown to respect him, the officers above him hate him and he accomplishes in boning the Colonel's daughter (aka that blond woman) in a lake (aka 1939 birth control).  The Colonel decides the men are ready for their top secret motorcycle mission which is enter a motorcycle race happening in Spain as a rouse to get soldiers in the country so they can stop Nazis from gaining vital military intelligence from the Spanish.  Yeah.  So the men enter the race, shoot some Nazis, save some scientists and engage in helicopter/motorcycle pursuits. God bless John Stamos America.

So the random historically inaccurate plot line aside, this film is actually pretty good.  It borderlines on actual film making several times, but thankfully John Stamos brings us back to Earth with an unnecessary sex scene, an unfunny sarcastic remark or a stupid smoldering glance into the camera.  Besides Stamos securing this film's spot in the B-movie archive, here are five other reasons this movie will forever be enjoyable to those of us with low cinematic standards.

5. Historical Inaccuracies

"Is anyone else confused why weren't not racist towards the Asian guy?"
First of all, I should mention I am in no way an expert in the history of the United States Military.  In fact, most of what I know about the military I learned from either Predator or M*A*S*HWhat I believe to be bullshit is, I don't think the military ever created an elite "motorcycle unit."  I get how motorcycles seemed less trouble than horses, but I don't know if there was ever an actual changeover as this.  Either way, this produces one of the greatest lines of the film.  The boys are riding their motorcycles around the base and a soldier shouts at them:

Soldier: "...That's the wave of the future?  Get a horse!"

I may start shouting this at people walking or hitch hiking on the street (from the bus).  Also, hypothetically thinking there was such a unit, I'm not sure they would send this particular group in to bum rush a bunch of Nazi spies.  Speaking of Nazis, it's never really explained why they kidnapped the two Spanish scientists in the film or what military or nuclear information they're after.  On second thought, it probably was, but that doesn't change the fact that the story line is fucking ridiculous.  One of the Nazi characters has a great line in the film though.  After kidnapping the Spanish scientists he says to them:

Nazi: "...I am Colonel Muhl, S.S.  You have nothing to fear from me Doctor."

I'm pretty sure this sentence is an oxymoron. 

4. What Fucking Decade Is This?

If the opening sequence had not flashed "Kentucy 1939" it might have taken me up until half way through the movie to understand it wasn't the late 80's.  Although the set designers attempt to convince us with 40's wardrobes, antique cars/motorcycles and Nazis, Stamos is absolutely rocking an 80's do, the soundtrack is all 80's classic rock and Grady able to fuck a rich unmarried society girl openly and super casually.  Maybe the last one is possible, but the rest don't attempt whatsoever to establish a believable time period.  There is also modern slang used in the film, like when the soldiers infiltrate the Nazi lair and Grady shoots one, a fellow solider says:

Soldier: "...Did you really have to kill him?"
Grady: "...Sorry bro."

3. Homoerotic Sexual Tension

Ironic sign photo bomb.
There are SEVERAL moments of homoerotic sexual tension in this movie.  Some may be written in the script, some I may have fantasized about in my mind, either way it's real!  This first begins when Grady is training the men to ride their bikes.  For the fist training exercise, Grady takes the boys down to a local bar and sets up a table outside filled with pints of beer.  The challenge is to ride their bikes up to the table, shifting with their foot instead of their hand.  Easy enough.  The reward is you get to drink a beer.  Fratty, but it's the military so I get it, but then Grady says: 

Grady: "...If you blow it, you lose a piece of your uniform."

Of course, right after this the next guy fucks up and all the men chant, "...take it off!"  Correct me if I'm wrong, but is the basic jist of this game is, get drunk or get naked?  Either way, Stamos wins.  After the men are sufficiently drunk or barely clothed, Grady says:

Grady: "...Okay, we tested your balance, your dexterity.."

He is interrupted by the bartender next to him who says:

Bartender: "...What about their balls?"

Grady smiles, but unfortunately we never get to see where this goes because the Colonel shows up and breaks up the party.  Boo.  Eventually Grady and the other high ranking officer of the unit, Captain Jack come to blows, (pun) a fight of which ends up in a shower filled with both clothed and naked soldiers egging them on.  Hmmm.  This also goes no where though because once again, cock blocking Colonel Deves shows up.  Double boo.

2. Top Gun Rip-Offs Similarities

It's like Top Gun with attractive non-closeted gays.
If you get a feeling of deja vu when watching this movie, there is a reason.  Born to Ride is essentially Top Gun on motorcycles.  Stamos plays a lone gun and renegade character who refuses to follow the rules and pisses off all the higher ranking officers who are forced to recognize his talent while putting up with his recklessness, you know, like Maverick (Tom Cruise) in Top GunGrady falls for a blond civilian on the base, in this case the Colonel's daughter Beryl Ann (Teri Polo).  In Top Gun Maverick falls for a blond civilian living on base, astrophysicist Charlie (Kelly McGillis).   

"Are you as uncomfortable as I am?"
Grady faces conflict with a by-the-book jealous Captain, Jack Hessler (John Stockwell) who distrusts Grady's reckless ways, is incesed that higher ups overlook Grady's attitude in favor of his talent and who also shares an affection for Beryl AnnMaverick faces conflict with a by-the-book jealous Navy pilot, LT Tom "Iceman" (Val Kilmer) who distrusts Maverick's reckless ways, is incensed that higher ups overlook Maverick's attitude in favor of his talent and who also shares an affection for Charlie.  In both films, the men are sent on a dangerous mission in which the reckless hero saves the life of the doubting rival and the two become friends.  Oh and of course both Grady and Maverick get the girl.

The only difference between the two movies (besides the time period, motorcycles, the military branch and Stamos) is in Top Gun, Maverick's closest friend, an awkward play-it-safe soldier is killed by ejecting into a mid-air collision during a mission partially due to Maverick's ill-timed advice.  In Born to Ride, Grady's only supporter, an awkward play-it-safe soldier is killed after the group ride their motorcycles down some dangerous terrain on Grady's advice.  The difference in this scene is everything seems all well and good until a soldier comments, "...Do you smell gas?"  The awkward soldier looks down at his leaking tank while everyone shouts "...Get off your bike!"  Too late.  The bike explodes in a giant ball of fire and the soldier is killed.  I guess they thought the explosion part of the scene was the necessary part to recreate.  Unlike Maverick in Top Gun, Grady isn't affected by this too much, in fact all the soldiers ride away and it's never brought up again.  Grady is even back to his sarcastic self five minutes later.

1. Securing Stamos Sexiness

"Don't worry. Water is the best birth control there is."
The absolute number one priority of this film was to keep John Stamos sexy.  If that means we have to alter styles and attitudes of the chosen time period, then so be it!  I don't care if it is the military, DO NOT TOUCH his fucking hair.  He is never allowed to button up the shirt on his military uniform, something which no one complains about.  He is never allowed to wear a helmet even though he is constantly riding a motorcycle.  He must remain sarcastic, smiley and witty even in the most inappropriate situations.  There must be a long, drawn out sex scene where we find a reason to make him wet.  First and foremost, he must NEVER express true emotion or emotional attachment to any one human being.  He is a renegade, a mystery an outlaw.  This is what I assume was written verbatim in his contract for this movie when he signed on.  Maybe give or take a few things.

Ultimately this film was surprisingly good and worth the watch.  It's definitely no Never Too Young To Die (more on that, coming soon), but then again, NOTHING could ever be. 

Steamy Stamos Faces: 19
Snarky Stamos Comments: 35
Stamos Sex: 1
Stamos Stalking: 4
Historical Inaccuracies: 16
Chicks On Bikes: 3
Nazis: 6
Times Grady Is Yelled At: 43
Homoerotic Moments: 14
Stamos Smoking: 9
Electric Guitar Riffs: 7
Other Movie Moments: 5
Times Stamos Is Shot: 0
Helicopter/Motorcycle Chases: 2
Times I Got A Stamos Boner: Infinity

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