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Blues (Peter Fonda) and the Loser (Bruce Dern) are Hell's Angels and
proud of it - but Loser's motorbike got stolen, but has been found in
Mexico. So Blues, Loser and the gang head for Mexico to retrieve it, cause
magnificent chaos, and ultiately, Loser doesn't get his bike back but
steals a cop's bike. Unfortunately, he's shot at, injred and arrested in
Oblivious to what happened to the Loser, Blues and friends
celebrate their return from Mexico with a wild party, only Madge (Diane
Ladd), Loser's girlfriend, soon starts to worry about him.
and company learn what has happened to the Loser, they decide to spring
him from hospital, where he's in intensive care, and while their plan goes
well, they are not really prepared to take care of the Loser afterwards,
and thus he dies before their very eyes.
The loser's death breaks
something inside Blues, so he decides to give him a big funeral in his
hometown, a funeral during which the angels desecrate a church, tie up the
reverend and play around with Loser's corpse, have an orgy, and Madge gets
gangraped. Then they want to bury the Loser, but when they hear the cops'
sirens, everybody scrams, everybody but Blues, who decides to finish the
job burying his friend, even if that means his arrest.
plays Peter Fonda's girlfriend.
Roger Corman hired real-life Hell's
Angels to help out making this film, and then got blasted because the
Angels saw themselves misrepresented. That said though, Wild Angels
shows the Angels in a much more positive light than the hundreds of movies
that followed in which the bikers usually were nothing short of monsters.
That said though, Corman doesn't exactly paint the Angels as knights in
shining armour, rather as young men who have lost their direction in life,
who no longer consider it a good idea to work themselves to their deaths
in crappy jobs, and thus their ultimate goal has become exactly what they
are doing - biking and partying. This also leaves them empty though, empty
enough to carry Nazi paraphernalia just to provoke, offend but without
identifying with Nazi ideas or even thinking about them.
all of this to the screen rather well thanks to his very straight-forward
directorial style and his refusal to tell the story at hand in a
moralistic way. Add to this a certain directorial fascination with the
topic at hand - motorbikes -, very decent pacing, and plenty of action
that keeps the film's feeble story from being stretched beyond breaking
point, and you have got yourself a great movie that has ultimately
fathered a whole genre - even though The Wild One from 1953 has
already laid much of the groundwork for it.