Jodie Comer (left) as Kathy and Austin Butler (right) as Benny star in “The Bikeriders” (Photo Credit: Kyle Kaplan/Focus Features).


(“The Bikeriders” trailer courtesy of Focus Features)

Many street organizations start off with righteous intentions.

Some start to participate in social activism.

Some start for camaraderie.

While others start for protection and pride.

But one thing that many of those organizations often have in common is that even when starting for positive reasons, the old school veterans often find themselves outnumbered by newcomers with new ideas for the organization.

Many old school street cats lived by a code of ethics in the streets.

However, often the younger generation only represents lawlessness and a disregard for the rules of the game.

Despite that universal theme and total A-list stars, “The Bikeriders” still does not become anything special.

Instead, “The Bikeriders” is a just mid (above average film) with major talent that is wasted by a dry storyline.

And the way that much of “The Bikeriders” is told from the perspective of a wife of a biking club member will remind many of scenes from “Goodfellas” where the wives gossiped about the gangsters in their lives.

And the way the movie is told in an interview style will remind hip-hop biopic fans of “All Eyez on Me.”

In “The Bikeriders,” Kathy (Jodie Comer) and Benny (Austin Butler) represent an unlikely couple.

Benny is a bad boy who loves spending time with members of his biker gang.

He takes the club so seriously that he suffers a severe beatdown when he refuses to take off his colors while hanging out at an unfriendly bar.

On the other hand, Kathy seems like a goodie-goodie.

However, many people say good girls love bad boys.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise when Kathy eventually becomes smitten with the dangerous Benny.

In fact, Benny is just the bad boy that Kathy chose because many of the members of The Vandals biker club try to shoot their shot at her.

The only problem that Kathy has is that she already has a boyfriend.

However, the fact that Kathy is spoken for does not stop Benny from showing persistence in his pursuit of love.

In fact, Benny posts up all night long outside of the home that Kathy shares with her boyfriend.

The boyfriend could put hands on Benny if he wanted to.

But would it be smart for a square to pick a fight with a member of a biker gang?

If he did, he would have to fight the entire organization and that probably would not be good for his health.

As a result, the boyfriend wisely chooses to become the ex-boyfriend, clearing the way for Kathy to become Benny’s wife.

As the organization grows, the members and spouses become like an extended family.

When a family member fights someone, all relatives are often required to jump into the fray.

When a family member celebrates a milestone in life, other relatives are often there to share in the momentous occasion.

And when family members hit the town, they usually have their loved-ones with them.

Unfortunately, some people do not come from close knit families that are united against the world.

Therefore, when they see a close and big family moving as one unit, it can become an inspiration.

That inspiration could lead them to tighten up their own circle or create their own organization that mimics the bond shared by The Vandals.

Furthermore, when the reputation of The Vandals begins to spread like wildfire, it could inspire other organizations to come under the umbrella of The Vandals.

And just like a real family would do, when non-relatives try to become a part of that clan, they become open to intense scrutiny by the elders of that family.

Growth for a family is a great thing because it can keep the legacy going for generations or longer.

However, too much growth, especially too quickly, can lead to havoc.

And like a wise person once said, all it takes is a few bad apples to spoil the whole bunch.

Moreover, the farther a group gets from its original members and mission, the closer it gets to being out of control.

When The Vandals eventually become something that its founder and president Johnny (Tom Hardy) does not recognize, he attempts to enlist Benny to succeed him in hopes that the newer and younger members will follow his lead to get the club closer to its original purpose.

‘The Bikeriders” has too much A-list talent to be a subpar movie.

But the interview style does not bring enough excitement to the picture.

“The Bikeriders” boasts of such celebrated actors as Butler, Hardy, Michael Shannon (“Bullet Train”), Boyd Holbrook (“Vengeance”) and Mike Faist (“Challengers”) who plays Danny, the photographer and interviewer.

Danny will remind news junkies of those wartime news correspondents who put themselves in the line of fire just to get the story.

While the main dynamic of “The Bikeriders” is old school versus new school, a smaller dynamic exists between Danny and the rest of the club members like Shannon’s character Zipco who has a problem with educated men like Danny.

Zipco always wanted to fight for his country.

However, he did not have the intellectual pedigree to find acceptance in the military.

Because of slights like that, he harbors animosity for those who he feels look down upon his kind.

Unfortunately, universal dynamics like old school versus new school and educated versus uneducated are not enough for “The Bikeriders.”

It is decent.

But does not live up to expectations considering the talent of the cast, despite having the best of intentions.







Todd A. Smith
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