Thursday, 31 January 2013

BMX Bandits (1983)

BMX Bandits was a movie I first watched at junior school; the headmaster would rent it out of the video shop at the end of term for our treat. And it really was a treat. The key components of the film, BMX, walkie talkies and Australia were all utterly cool to a child in the 1980s. BMX was the bike I and all my friends rode and loved, walkie talkies kept us all in touch (remember mobile phones were unthinkable to a child in the 80s, sure they existed but they were the size of a brick, required a case and a portable charger and were only for the rich yuppie adult minority. Now of course kids as young as 6 have mobile phones and walkie talkies are obsolete) and Australia was the land that gave us Neighbours, then a new and extremely popular daytime soap on BBC1. 

Because of my history with this film and the fact that it was such a part of my childhood,  I felt very nostalgic towards it in my memory, but wasn't really brave enough to revisit it as an adult.

A recent review from someone I follow on Letterboxd rekindled my memory of this film and, because I'm watching an awful lot of Ozploitation at present, it felt only right that I watched it again.

Well, it was better in my memory. In my memory, my innocent youth, I didn't cringe. It's perhaps a little unfair to say that though, as you can't recapture your youth nor did I really expect to. This is a relatively harmless film with bright summery colours, loud 80s fashions and an even louder synth score that, if it were a child itself, you'd worry about the E number it had had. There's something cheesily delightful about seeing a pre stardom Irn Bru coloured frizzy haired Nicole Kidman popping a wheelie to the wowee adulation of her cohorts as they evade Bryan Marshall and his two crooked colleagues.

Director and ozploitation veteran Brian Trenchard Smith has great fun satirising his more mature X rated catalogue in a conversation one of the teenage BMX Bandits, Goose, has about the grisly films he enjoys watching. It's a gag which would have gone over my head as a child, but I can totally appreciate now thanks to my recent viewings of the genre and BTS's work within it.

Lastly, I have to share with you the strapline on my DVD copy which proclaims this 'The Citizen Kane of BMX movies' Hilarious!

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