In Honor of 'Premium Rush', Five More Flicks with Heroes On Wheels
by Ben Pearson
August 24, 2012
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Premium Rush finally hits theaters today after a long delay, and writer/director David Koepp's action thriller sees JGL take to the streets on a "fixie" bike with no brakes as he tears across New York City trying to deliver a mysterious package. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to highlight some other films in which the main characters cruise around on wheels, whether it be on BMX bikes, skateboards, or rollerblades, so hit the jump for a list of some of the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) that the subgenre of extreme sports movies on wheels has to offer. Check out our picks below!
BMX Bandits (1983)
First up, we've got Nicole Kidman's first movie role in Brian Trenchard-Smith's BMX Bandits. The Oscar-winner certainly has come a long way since her early days on camera cruising through Sydney, Australia, on a BMX bike with a few friends while some wildly incompetent thugs chase them down. This quick trailer for the series highlights some of the more explosive moments, but as I found in an episode of my podcast last year, there are plenty more antics on display that make this one worth watching.
Next is Hal Needham's Rad. It stars Bill Allen (who I thought vanished off the face of the Earth after this film but he actually appeared alongside Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July and in an early episode of "Breaking Bad") as a guy named "Cru," so this one reeked of the mid-80s already. But get a load of this cast: Talia Shire, who played Adrian in the Rocky series; Lori Laughlin, who starred as Becky on "Full House"; and Ray Walston, who played the hardass disciplinarian Mr. Hand in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. OK, OK, so it's not exactly an all-star cast, but it makes up for it with pure energy as Cru races against the "factory hotshots" in his quest for glory. "I've never seen such talent and determination from a kid!"
Yeah, 1986 was a pretty good year for kids with wheels in movies. Along with Rad, we also got Thrashin', which Josh Brolin completists will surely already know all about. Admittedly, I haven't had a chance to see this one yet, but it looks like a total blast. With a skateboarding gang called "The Daggers," horrendously cheesy 80s tunes, and an epic-looking finale race, this movie has rocketed into my own personal "must-see" category. Bonus: there are a couple appearances from real-life skaters Tony Hawk and Tony Alva.
This fish-out-of-water tale features a bit of surf action, but it's mostly landlocked when its protagonist gets sent to Cincinnati, Ohio. This one sports a cast including future stars Seth Green and Jack Black, with a bonus appearance from Edie McClurg (Grace from Ferris Bueller's Day Off), and concentrates more on inline skating than skateboarding. The action beats are a lot of fun and there are some pretty impressive stunts for the time, when rollerblading was really coming into the popular consciousness and not just for thrill seekers anymore.
Yes, I could have put any number of movies here in the last slot on this list (Lords of Dogtown, Gleaming the Cube, etc.) but I chose Brink! because I embarrassingly grew up watching this Disney Channel Original movie. Remember Erik von Detten? EVD? No? I bet the ladies out there do. A teen idol in the post-JTT world, EVD brought us this tale of "soul skating" against evil corporate sponsorships in a 90s-fueled pop version of Los Angeles filled with bright colors and baggy jeans. Sure it's cheesy, and I doubt I would still consider it a "good movie," but I loved it at the time and that was enough for it to make this list.
That's all for now. Sound off in the comments and let us know if you have any favorites on this list, and don't forget to check out Premium Rush in theaters now if you're looking for some more two-wheeled action.