Movie Reviews
The Very Best Bike Movies

Rad Cover Rad

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Short for radical, “rad” means “cool.” Rad rocks big time. Totally awesome.

It’s the story of how a small-town paperboy takes on the world’s best BMX riders in a $100,000 race on harrowing Hell Track. Bicycle Moto Cross was all the rage then, and Rad captures that excitement.

At one point in the 1980s, 70% of all bikes sold in the United State were Sting-Rays (or copies). Since bicycle booms don’t come around all that often, we have to celebrate them when they do – and cherish them long afterwards.

Furthermore, watching Rad serves to remind us that BMX was the direct precursor of off-road, freestyle and mountain bikes. By the way, BMX was unofficially jumpstarted in 1971 by On Any Sunday. That’s a motorcycle film, but some bike stunts at the beginning inspired kids to take their souped-up Sting-Rays to greater heights. Thanks to the Olympics, X-Games and extreme sports, BMX is enjoying a revival today.

So, put aside the fact that the story in Rad is banal, the writing clichéd, the acting lame and the soundtrack tacky. Instead, enjoy the thrills and spills that made this modest film, which lasted only a few weeks at the theaters, a cult classic.

Stunts is the one area in which this film excels. Small wonder; the credits, which are rolled over some amazing twists and turns, list no fewer than 28 stuntmen, many of whom were BMX legends, including Eddie Fiola and R.L. Osborn.

Also, the film features some famous actors in amusing roles. Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian) plays a lovable curmudgeon, Lori Loughlin (Full House heartthrob) plays a BMX champion, and Talia Shire (Francis Ford Coppola’s sister and Rocky’s Adrian) plays a young BMX rider’s understanding mom. Check it out, dude.

Title: Rad
Year Released: 1986
Duration: 91 minutes
Language: English
Bike Content: 7/10 wheels

Posted by Greg Borzo on 09/03 at 10:14 PM