Film Review: BMX Bandits (dir by Brian Trenchard-Smith)


Oh, don’t even get me started on people who ride bicycles. Don’t get me wrong. I own a bicycle. I like to ride my bicycle occasionally, though only in the park and never in the street. They’re good exercise. They’re good for the environment, I guess. They don’t kill as many people as cars do, I assume. That said, professional bicyclists — and by that, I mean the ones who don’t even own a car — drive me crazy.

Don’t even pretend that you don’t know what I mean. You’re trying to drive to work or the grocery store or maybe you’re just taking a nice drive to clear your head. You’re tapping on the accelerator. You’re going over 60 mile per hour because there aren’t any cops around. Everything’s just fine and then suddenly …. you get stuck behind some jerk on a bicycle. He’s got his helmet on. He’s got his tight little bicycle shorts and his fluorescent shirt. He’s peddling along, all hunched over and with his ass up in the air, like that doesn’t make him look like a total idiot.

And then, you have to slow down. You’re have to be careful that you don’t accidentally run him over. You have to watch his arms because his stupid little bicycle doesn’t have a goddamn turn signal or a brake light. When you reach a red light, he sits there on his bike with one hand on his hips and the other hand holding up his little water bottle, from which he drinks as if he’s spent the past week in a desert. And you’re left to wonder why this guy is even here, riding his bicycle down a busy street that doesn’t even have a bicycle lane. The worst part of it is the smug look of satisfaction on his face as he looks back at your car and thinks, “I may be inconveniencing everyone but at least I’m making a difference.”

Considering my anti-bicyclist feelings, I may not have been the ideal audience for the 1983 Australian film, BMX Bandits. Fortunately, though, the teenager bikers in this film were all extremely fast and very stunt-orientated. These bikers weren’t interested in using their bikes as a symbol of moral superiority. Instead, they were more about using them to jump over shopping carts and to ride across the beaches of Sydney. One of the bikers was played by a 16 year-old Nicole Kidman and she managed to bring at least a hint of reality to even the most absurd pieces of dialogue.

That’s a good thing because BMX Bandits is, even by the standards of a bicycle film from the early 80s, is a thoroughly absurd film. A group of bank robbers lose a box of walkie talkies. Three BMX bike enthusiasts find the box. This leads to a long chase through Sydney, as well as a sort of bizarre counter attack launched by hundreds of teenage BMX bike owners. The bank robbers don’t stand a chance! That said, I’m not really sure why, since the movie opened with them successfully robbing a bank, they couldn’t have just purchased a new box of walkie talkies. Interestingly enough, the police also spend a lot of time listening to walkie talkies, which can only lead me to believe that walkie talkies were a really huge deal back in 1983. This film is fascinated by them, to the extent that a more appropriate title for the film might have been Law & Order: Walkie Talkie Squad.

Anyway, what can you really say about something like BMX Bandits? It’s such a silly film that it’s almost impossible to review because to take it seriously is to miss the point. The villains are buffoons. The plot makes no sense. Nicole Kidman’s good, though you still only really notice her because you know what audiences in 1983 did not know, that she’s future Oscar winner Nicole Kidman. At the same time, the scenery is lovely and there’s an extended scene that takes place in a cemetery that has some nice atmosphere even if it does go on a bit too long. There’s not really a lot to be said about BMX Bandits but at least it won’t slow down traffic.

One response to “Film Review: BMX Bandits (dir by Brian Trenchard-Smith)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week in Review: 4/5/21 — 4/11/21 | Through the Shattered Lens

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