Angels Die Hard – Reviewed by Skids Poppe
Picture this scenario: A sleepy little town, somewhere in the far reaches of the state (for arguments sake, we’ll say Northern California). This town has some sort of “powerful” local political figure who is generally in charge of the way things run in his city (Could be the sheriff). Enter a second powerful, “bad”, element, someone or something which could, if the situation presented itself, take control away from the sheriff (in our little fable, I think it’s safe to say this could be a biker gang).
Now, the sheriff thinks (knows) the biker gang is going to cause trouble if he lets them run rampant so he decides to stop them (probably by running them out of town). In order to drive them away, the sheriff attacks one member of the gang as a warning to the rest (say he puts him in jail). If this works, the bikers are driven out and the next day, the lone, jailed victim is released and sent on his way to join the rest of his gang.
Not only have we all seen this before, but doesn’t it sounds just a bit boring? The bad guys win and the bikers are out of luck again. But what happens if we throw in a twist? What if…on the way back to rejoin his buddies, the lone, jailed victim (who just happens to be a great rider) mysteriously runs off the road and dies in a flaming wreck? That might be a little more interesting. And if the gang now has to go back to the town and exact revenge for the death of their comrade and take down the sheriff at the same time, then this might become a film which carries the same moralistic weight as Oedipus. Now that would be a movie worthy of the genre.
That’s what happens in Angels Die Hard, a film which finally gives us bikers some well deserved respect. It pretty much follows the plot I’ve set up, but it adds a few little twists which provide meat for those story bones. Primarily the moral implications that if the sheriff didn’t do anything, if he wasn’t threatened by these scruffy, long haired, Harley riding freaks, nothing would have happened. Sure, there was a bar fight or two, but there’s no way you can blame two-wheelers for that.
All in all, Angels Die Hard is a fun ninety minutes. From nudity to motorcycles to the townsfolk actually coming around and asking the bikers for help to rescue a teenage boy trapped in a mine shaft, this film has something for everyone. But my favorite moment (and the one which took the film from merely entertaining to near art) is when the gang brings their dead comrade back to town in a casket trailing behind one of the bikes. Riding along as well is the undertaker, who starts out straight but eventually comes around and realizes the biker way of life is the way to go. If only hick sheriffs could figure this out, but then we wouldn’t have films like this to watch.
Skids would like to announce his candidacy for the office of Sheriff in Los Angeles county