Film Review: Rad (1986)

Also known as: Hell Track (Philippines English title, Australia), BMX Hellriders (Finland)
Release Date: March 21st, 1986 (limited)
Directed by: Hal Needham
Written by: Geoffrey Edwards, Sam Bernard
Music by: James Di Pasquale
Cast: Bill Allen, Lori Loughlin, Talia Shire, Ray Walston, Jack Weston, Bart Conner

TaliaFilm II Productions, TriStar Pictures, 91 Minutes


“God, what I wouldn’t give to go ass-sliding with you right now.” – Cru

This was a VHS box cover that I used to see all the time in mom and pop video shops when I was a kid. I always thought it was probably a cool flick but I always passed it up for ninja movies, horror and action flicks from Cannon. I had priorities back then.

So I just watched this for the first time and I had no idea that it actually had some people of note in it like Talia Shire, Ray Walston and Lori Loughlin.

Beyond that, it mostly stars young actors and kids, as the story revolves around a teen that is trying to win a major BMX race, it’s hefty prize and the respect of his town, mother and BMX rivals.

It’s also a movie with a pretty solid ’80s pop tunes soundtrack. While that was pretty common back then, the music really fit the scenes well in this. I listened through the soundtrack after watching the movie and it’s probably one of the best assembled for its time.

Another surprise about the film is that I had no idea that Hal Needham directed it. For those that don’t know, he’s one of Burt Reynolds’ best buds and directed him in Smokey and the Bandit and its first sequel, as well as Hooper, The Cannonball Run I and II, Stroker Ace and Hard Time: Hostage Hotel.

All that being said, this is still pretty mediocre, as a total package. The film is enjoyable but you’ve probably really got to have deep nostalgia for ’80s teen movies, as well as “extreme” sports like BMX racing.

The action stuff is pretty well done but Needham spent a big part of his career filming great car stunts, chases and races. Here, he takes that same formula and just translates it to BMX bikes.

I definitely can’t call this a classic but it fits well with similar films of the time that involved BMX kids and skaters.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other BMX, Skating and surfing movies of the ’80s.

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