RAD (1986)

RAD cover During their lengthy existence, bicycles have been known by a number of different names. For example, they've been called pushbikes, pedal bikes, pedal cycles, cycles, and Clive. Furthermore, you can also see a lot of them in this 91-minute feature-film made in 1986, Directed by Hal Needham; and Starring: Bill Allen, Lori Loughlin, Jack Weston, with Ray Walston.


OK. I've got to admit. I'm pretty damn good on my BMX. Riding about every morning delivering newspapers to all in sundry, with a jump in my step and a kick to my bike! But can I do it? Huh? Am I good enough to actually gain entry into that new racing competition which has moseyed on into town? Me! Cru Jones (Bill Allen)! Driving with the best of them in 'Helltrack'!

Huh? What's that you say? Yes! Yes I can? But only if I catch the eye of that cute contender called Christian Holly (Lori Loughlin)!

Alright then. I will. I will catch her eye by bike-dancing with her at the disco. Just so she can help me practice my craft in the field, on the dirt, and amidst the air!

What then though? What do I do after Christian and I grow closer and closer together? Do I kiss her? Do I trick my Mum into allowing me to enter the qualifying rounds? And what if I qualify? What then?

Oh, dear! I don't know what to do. Honestly I don't. Then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all hits the skids when the organiser of 'Helltrack', Duke Best (Jack Weston), throws a spanner in the works. As riders ride - a sponsor makes me slide - my hometown comes to my salvation - and at the end of the day wining a race is my prime and ultimate motivation.

I remember saying to myself after watching 'Hot Rod', 'Hey! I've got to check out this type of cheesy Americana film more often. I'm sure these 80's bent adventures are bound to be fun to watch'. However, now that I've actually sat down and watched 'RAD', in part, I feel that my initial spurt was wrong. Very wrong.

RAD 25 years film poster
Listen up. I'm not trying to imply that this film is total pants. No. Of course not. Yet, if truth be told, it is one of those movies where the good was rather good, whilst the bad was rather bad. Here. Let me tell you why. (1) Conceptually speaking this film is an underdog tale where the hometown hero triumphs in the face of adversity. Not that this is a bad-bad thing of course. It's just that I've seen this type of thing too many times before. It's too tried and tested. And it's too paper-thin as a narrative in its own right. (2) In contrast to the story in itself, the stunts on show were truly out of this world. Honestly. If you're a big fan of seeing bikes flying through the air like a bird on a wire, my God, you've got to watch this movie. It's BMX-tastic. (3) As much as I don't really want to discredit any of the actors involved in 'RAD', by in large the majority of the performances performed, fell into four distinct categories. Wooden. Cartoonish. Amateurish. Plus overtly cute. Say no more. (4) On a structural level this flick comes across fairly liner for this type of film genre. Act One: Introduce the main protagonist. Act Two: Roll out the premise. Act Three: Set-up the love interest. Act Four: Throw a spanner in the works. Act Five: The hero wins, and the bad guys loose. Yep. There is nothing special here. As I said previously, I've seen it all before. (5) There were so many 80's power ballads played all the way through this adventure, on occasion a small part of me thought that I was watching a rather lengthy commercial for sanitary towels. Take that comment however you so wish. (6) Now I have to mention how adorable Lori Loughlin looked in this picture. In my eyes she was like a spark of hope tilting down into a field of skid marks.

RAD with Bill Allen and Lori Loughlin

Biker and Lori Loughlin in RADHey! That's enough of that methinks. It's now time for some filmic-facts. Right, folks? (1) 'TriStar Pictures' first released this $11 million dollar production on the 21st of March, 1986, and clawed back only $2 million dollars at the box office. (2) Most of this movie was shot on location throughout the two Canadian states of Calgary and Alberta, particularly the dance and the ramp scenes based in Cochrane. (3) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'The Bike Flying 2' in Argentina; 'BMX Hell Drivers' in Finland; and 'Hell of a BMX track' in Slovakia. (4) Despite this movie becoming a top-ten video rental for two whole years after it was released, it has only been unofficially released on DVD and Blue-ray within recent years. (5) By in large this adventure had its wheels deflated by the filmic-elite. The 'New York Times' called it 'very self-destructive'. 'Rotten Tomatoes' gave it a 0% 'Rotten rating'. Whilst 'The Guardian's' Nick Evershed found it be a 'mixed bag'. (6) In 1986 'Curb Records' released the soundtrack to this picture on 12" vinyl and cassette. Since then, it has been a much sort after item, mainly because it featured such artists as John Farnham, Hubert Kah, Real Life, 3 Speed, and Sparks. (7) In the scene at the restaurant, after Cru qualifies for the competition, you can clearly see the boom mic hovering over the top right hand corner of the screen. Ops! Mistake! (8) After this movie was made, Ray Walston starred in the television series, 'Fast Times', Bill Allen starred in the television series, 'Outlaws', and Jack Weston starred in the blockbuster, 'Dirty Dancing'.

RAD film still

Overall I'd say 'RAD' wasn't very radical. The stunts were great. The acting was fair. The premise was formulaic. And the plot line was so paper-thin I couldn't even roll a cigarette with it.

Hmmm. Nuff said.