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DA Review: Crunchy, Fruity Rebels!

Rod Tillman is a stockcar driver who’s all out of money. As stockcar drivers who are all out of money tend to do, he sells his trailer and hangs out in a swinging ’60s bar. In one of these bars, he meets the WIIIIIILD REBELS, three bikers and a lady who want Rod to drive the getaway car for their ‘jobs.’ As you might expect, they all have wacky names, like Banjo and Fats and Moon Zoom and Droppo. Despite giving him free use of the lady, Linda, Rod opts out. On his way out, he gets recruited by the police to go undercover amongst the bikers, who somehow are rather ‘smart’ criminals. Though initially successful, Rod’s cover is eventually blown during a bank robbery, and those wild, wild rebels take him hostage, forcing him to drive them across miles of dense shrubbery. The gang finally decides to stop and shoot it out with the cops in the most logical place imaginable, a lighthouse. (Well, I can see- HUH?!) Needless to say, the three bikers die and Linda has a change of heart, saving the life of our wounded hero. So, Linda goes off to a life in prison and Rod starts a beautiful friendship with the doughy Lieutenant Dorn.

More viscious wild rebelling after the jump!

A bleak, “juvenile delinquents headed for disaster” movie from the ’60s. Usually the black and white ones score better, and this is no exception. The film excels in the area of thoroughly unconvincing, bland characters. Throw in a dumb, aggravating story and… you’ve got this movie.

Now, I think that Linda is reasonably attractive, but she really just doesn’t sell the whole “biker gang chick” act. She looks like she should be a librarian, or starring on “Bewitched.” Neither does Steve Alaimo sell himself as the hero. In fact, there’s not much that’s heroic about this guy. Let’s be honest: he wrecks his car, stands on the hood of someone else’s car, sulks in a bar, considers working for clearly-dishonest bikers, accepts free-lovin’ from their chick, seems relatively apathetic about the whole undercover thing, blows his cover, drives the gang around for a long time, then gets his ass kicked by someone named “Jeeter.” You may be many things, Steve Alaimo, but you are not this film’s hero.

The actor who played Banjo, Willie Pastrano, was actually a boxer. I’d also like to hit you with the fact that the actor who played Fats was actually a nominee for the Nobel Prize but, alas, that isn’t true. Speaking of inaccuracies, I would love to ask the foley guy what made him decide to make Linda’s golden gun sound like a stapler, in the gun shop shooting. I swear, the woman staples the poor old guy to death.

At one point, Crow notes about a young policeman, “There’s something about that guy that screams, ‘I’m not really a cop.'” This whole movie screams, “I’m not really an effective ‘rebellious youths’ movie.” In fact, everyone in this movie screams that they aren’t really, well, whatever the hell they were supposed to be. It’s the epitome of a genuinely bad b-movie: completely mediocre in everything it strives to be, with no charm at all. Shame on you, 1960s. Go watch show 522, Teenage Crime Wave, to see a b-movie that does juvenile delinquency right.

Ultimately, this isn’t one of the most on-fire episodes of the series. It’s a season two episode, and the show was only just starting to find its feet at this point. As such, I’m going to try my best to review it on a curve. It’s not going to be a significant curve though, since this wasn’t a terribly wonderful episode. The movie drags everything down and the riffing isn’t cutting enough to lift it above the filth.

The primary affliction with this episode is that the riffing just isn’t that sharp. It’s too tame and lukewarm to really enjoy. It’s like Joel and the Robots are on good terms with the movie and only give it lighthearted, “corny uncle” ribbing. I just can’t get into it. It manages a few good lines, but it’s too little.

The host segments are really only average. There’s some good character development for Gypsy in the first couple of segments, where it’s revealed that she devotes most of her immense intelligence to running the Satellite of Love. (The best part of this is when she shuts down most of the satellite’s systems so she can have an intelligent conversation with Joel. When oxygen-deprived, Joel is even dopier than usual.) The boys also put on a little play for her later on which is kind of fun. (I always enjoy seeing the Bots beat up on Joel. It’s so rare.) I really enjoyed the invention exchange or, rather, the concepts behind them. The pizza looked good and the Hobby Hogs were an amusing idea. The only really good segment, however, was the Wild Rebels cereal sketch, which is a good example of the Joel era’s finer moments – bizarre little skits related to whatever movie they’re watching. (Season three perfected these moments.) Quite a catchy jingle, too.

I can’t help but observe that Riding With Death handled stock car racing much better than this episode. I have yet to see the other two biker movies from season two – Sidehackers and The Hellcats – but I’ll add a comparison to them once I do. Perhaps, once I familiarize myself with the rest of season two, I’ll feel a little better about this episode. As it is, however, it kind of drags in places and the movie hinders it all the more. Slightly disappointing.

The final word on this episode is: Blah. Yes, blah. Not much to see here. Move along, people; move along. This episode is, all-around, an experiment in being average-to-sub-par, especially when you consider that the great Godzilla vs. Megalon was also within their reach at the time. Not the worst, but still kinda yucky. My grade:

C-

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3 Responses

  1. Very clever young sir!

    Funny write up, good page layout with nice pics. Though I am a Rebels fan and rank it among my favorites for season 2 (It’s a tasty riff riot)

    Keep up the good work. I’ll be back for more.

  2. This is my favorite episode from season two. I don’t know why, but I just dig this episode. Maybe I like the “corny uncle” ribbing, or maybe the it’s the first episode I showed my (ex) girlfriend. I just found it as a classic from the early years.

    Also out the three biker films, this is the best (Hellcats is pretty bad BAD).

  3. Funny you should say that. I think I like Hellcats the best. :) (Sidehackers, on the other hand, is just a thoroughly unlikable film.)

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