SupercrossReviewed By Peter Sobczynski
Posted 08/17/05 18:45:14
Like many youth-oriented films, “Supercross” wants us to know that it is totally radical and anti-authoritarian and it does so in the boldest way possible–it tells us that corporations are bad and rebellious individuals are good and cool and wicked hardcore (or whatever buzzwords the kids are saying today). This is a sentiment that sounds good and is easy enough to preach but I found it just a teensy bit difficult to swallow in this particular film. How anti-corporate can a film be when it announces in the opening credits that it has been produced in part by the good folks at Clear Channel Entertainment? If that isn’t enough, consider the scene in which our heroes are at their low point–one has been busted up in a cycling accident and has been told that he can never ride again while the other has just lost his cushy gig riding for the evil corporate factory team. Faced with these insurmountable odds, what profound words do they proclaim in order to rally their spirits? One announces “I’m going to Papa John’s!” while the other reminds him to get extra dipping sauce for his Hawaiian Pineapple pizza. Now that is how you stick it to the man!The two pizza-dipping dopes are K.C. (Steve Howey) and Trip (Mike Vogel), a pair of brothers who are striving to succeed in the glamorous world of motocross racing. In the grand tradition of Simon & Simon, both have radically different approaches to racing–K.C. does everything “old school” (lame stuff like not taking unnecessary risks or, presumably, eating his pizza without a dipping sauce) while Trip does everything “on the edge” (he is hotheaded, takes insane risks and no doubt slathers his pizza with any and all available sauces). Their partnership is threatened when K.C. is lured into joining an evil corporate team led by a rich motorcycle producer (Robert Carradine, no doubt wishing for the glory days of “Lizzie McGuire” or “Massacre at Central High”)–the kind of guy who would probably market dipping sauce for pizza without actually partaking himself.
For a while, all is swell until K.C. finally realizes that his destiny with the team is always going to be to run blocking moves that will allow the star rider (Channing Tatum), who is also the boss’s son, to coast to victory and loving cups full of dipping sauce. Trip, on the other hand, winds up with a poor-but-honest team led by poor-but-honest Robert Patrick (who looks has if he would break you in two if you ever used the words “pizza” and “dipping sauce” in the same sentence) who hates them fancy teams for taking the simple quiet dignity out of the art of motocross. Oh yeah, both the guys get an attractive bit of arm candy to boot. K.C. gets a pre-law hottie (Sophia Bush) while Trip winds up with a fellow racer (Cameron Richardson) who just happens to be his boss’s daughter. (I have no idea what their stance is on dipping sauce but both would certainly look good coated in it–an observation I make only because they serve no other purpose in the film other than potentially inspiring a “Maxim” tie-in.)
The strangest thing about “Supercross,”aside from the fact that someone actually thought that people would pay money to see a film that looks and sounds, for all purposes, to be nothing more than this generation’s “Grind,” is the fact that it doesn’t even feel like a real movie for the most part. Roughly two-thirds of the film is indifferently-shot racing footage that has no real context and which is so haphazardly slapped together that it is impossible to follow–the rest (the parts with the acting and plot and other ancillary matters) seems to have been hurriedly written and shot in an effort to lash the racing footage together into a “story” without any real effort. The results aren’t especially seamless–none of the actors seem as if they are engaged with the proceedings or even, for the most part, seem to have ever gotten on a motocross bike once in their lives.
Additionally, characters appear and disappear–Aaron Carter pops up briefly as Patrick’s son, another rider, but disappears without explanation, possibly he went on a dipping sauce run or possibly out of sheer embarrassment after being forced to deliver the would-be taunt “Didn’t I spank you?” The funniest result of the haphazard editing is watching what happens to the character played by Sophia Bush (best known for some WB series, getting canned from “Terminator 3" and a mind-roastingly inane appearance on David Letterman)–she is all but unnecessary but the film keeps cutting back to her during the races and the result may be the first performance in film history to consist entirely of reaction shots.“Supercross” is rubbish from start to finish that would have seemed below-average as a direct-to-video offering. It isn’t entertaining, it isn’t exciting and it doesn’t offer any insights into the world of motocross that would allow outsiders to see it as anything more than a bunch of dopes risking their necks for no apparent reason. What a dipping-sauce-festooned pizza from Papa John’s is to a fresh-baked pie from your local pizzeria, “Supercross” is to nearly any other film currently in release that doesn’t feature “Deuce Bigalow” in the title.
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