The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 83 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Larry Bishop, Michael Madsen, Eric Balfour, Vinnie Jones, Dennis Hopper, Leonor Varela, David Carradine
Written & Directed by: Larry Bishop
Music by: Daniele Luppi
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 28, 2008
"The rebellion against all there is"
From Producer Quentin Tarantino (Grindhouse Presents: Death Proof) and Writer/Director Larry Bishop (Mad Dog Time) comes this lean, mean mayhem machine - fully loaded with bikers, babes, and booze. Michael Madsen (Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2), Eric Balfour (TV's 24) and legendary "Easy Rider" Dennis Hopper are part of a wild motorcycle gang bent on avenging the death of one of their own. With Vinnie Jones (The Condemned) as the crazed arrow-wielding rival gang leader, Hell Ride is a savagely enjoyable good-time where the women are hot, the bikes are even hotter, and the action never stops!
As the film credits rang up at the beginning of the movie I thought to myself who is Larry Bishop? I have never heard of him and I have to say that after watching Hell ride which he wrote, directed, and starred in, I can see why. With all due respect to Quentin Tarantino, what the heck?! This film had a pretentious and fuzzy premise, a miscast lead character in Bishop, and an overabundance of fanny shaking, boob jiggling, and explicit sexuality that hardly seemed pertinent but looked more like an attempt to legitimize the authenticity of the biker image being portrayed. Cameos by Dennis Hopper and David Carradine failed to add any substance to the story which revolves around redemption and two warring biker factions. The rift begins in 1976 when a young woman who is associated with both groups supposedly betrays the leader of the 666's which results in her being set on fire after her throat is cut. This sets in motion a series of events that culminate 30 + years later. Amidst the lackluster writing is plenty of bloody violence and Harley riding that should appeal to fans of these types of movies. The screenplay just didn't flow very well. I have no problem with films that rely more on instinct rather than intellect but this one just didn't feel like it was strong in either.
The rating is for strong violence, sexual content including graphic nudity and dialogue, language and drug use. Nuff said.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Hell Ride comes to Blu-ray disc from The Weinstein Company featuring 1080p AVC encoded vide that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.5 mbps.
The film's opening is intentionally monochrome and uses heavy grain to give it a stylized look which was very similar to the opening of Kill Bill. A similar look is used later in the story as well but to a lessened degree which provides color points that are present but noticeably faded. Other than that I found colors to be pleasing overall, with slightly pumped up reds over saturated hues. High contrast levels overdrove whites which washed out detail and highlighted grain during bright scenes. This gave the video an overly dynamic perspective which appeared intentional but looked unnatural. Image detail was quite good and revealing of fine texture and delineation especially in the facial features and clothing of the cast. The various make up of skin tones and complexional characteristics among the cast was rendered with aplomb. Blacks had ample dynamic range and visible gradational structure was discernible in low lighting and dark areas onscreen. Early in the film as the bikers enter a desert bar I noticed moiré on the blinds of a window in the background. I didn't notice it at any other point after nor did I see any other obvious video related artifacts.
The lossless audio presentation delivered subtle, refined and crisp dialogue that held sway over the front three channels. Imagining within the front soundstage was narrower that I expected but it still generated a stable sound field. The growl of the various motorcycle engines with their straight pipes, and the crackle of the revolver type hand guns used had good dynamic impact and clear descriptive emphasis. Surround activity was present but used sparingly to denote sounds associated with front to rear panning effects and ambient venue simulation. LFE contained in the mix wasn't frequent but when present provided subtle yet detectable low end support. This seemed appropriate based upon the story's elements and it sounded just fine.
- Feature commentary with Writer/Director Larry Bishop
- The making of Hell Ride Featurette
- The babes of Hell Ride Featurette
- The guys of Hell Ride Featurette
- The choppers of Hell Ride Featurette
- Michael Madsen's video diary Documentary
- (HD) Red band trailer
Hell Ride is a film that offers little in the way of entertainment value. Its attempts at being a rough and tumble biker flick simply don't bear fruit. Those who have seen the film and liked it will be pleased with its high definition Blu-ray presentation from The Weinstein Company, which when coupled with the fairly comprehensive bonus supplements, makes it fan worthy.
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