Harley – Reviewed by Skids Poppe
I may be the only one who feels this way, but haven’t we all had enough of these feel-good movies where we all learn something about ourselves and everyone else by the end? I don’t even like ’em when they’re done well, but when they’re bad, I just want to rip ’em right out of the VCR and throw ’em in with Guantanamo’s explosives kit. This month, the video we’re talking about is Harley, a Lou Diamond Phillips vehicle.
It started like this: I was at the video store, trying to find a film for you, my loyal fans (thanks for the votes in the reader survey). Now I don’t know if you’ve noticed this annoying trend, but I’ll tell you about anyway. It seems people are now trying to sell videos instead of just renting them. Let’s face it, if we wanted to own it, we’d all get laser disc players, right? So anyway, these videos are for sale real cheap (I’m ignoring them, looking through the rentals like a good American) and Guantanamo calls me over to show me What the hell, it’s only ten bucks so I buy it.
When I get it home, I begin to look at the credits printed on the front. A Kuntz Bros. Production? Executively produced and written by Frank J. and Darryl J. Kuntz and their spouses. Keep it close to home, that’s what I always say. They took me seriously. It was produced, directed and edited by Fred Holmes. (Frank also co-wrote the music.)
So I start watching. The plot follows Harley, played by young Lou (in his 30s playing a 17-year-old) from the streets of LA (where he’s in a gang and the only thing he cares about is, you guessed it, his Harley) to a Texas farm where he’s sent instead of Juvenile Hall to straighten him out. Then the twists start coming fast and furious. Jim Norton, who owns the ranch, is an ex biker with a vintage Hog out in the barn and a gorgeous daughter with an attitude. Let’s see if we can figure out where this is going, shall we?
Are we right? Yes…and no. Of course Lou and the girl get together and of course Lou fixes up the bike, what comes as a surprise is what else is going on in the film. There’s a teen red-neck in love with the daughter and holding a nasty grudge against the father. I know, this is nothing new, but this teen red-neck is also passing counterfeit $20s. Adding this, we also add the inevitable fight between Lou and the red-neck, in which Lou wins (like you didn’t know) and learns something about himself in the process.
Where things fall apart is the Kuntz boys including themselves in the film as the “comic relief”. They’re just not funny! Aside from that, and this just may be me talking with my new nineties sensibilities, but I really don’t think biker films and religious films mix. Sure, if you want to say a small prayer before you walk in to a bar thinking you’re going to get the crap kicked out of you, that’s okay. That’s a personal choice, and if it’s silent all the better. But when you interrupt an otherwise decent film by preaching to me, then I think you’ve crossed that line in the sand. My suggestion for overcoming this: Watch it on a Friday while eating pork.
Skids wants to thank you for mentioning him in the reader survey. He considers it a form of job security.