Director – Earl Bellamy (V, The Quest)
Starring – Ben Murphy (The Drew Carey Show, In the Heat of the Night), Wendy Hughes (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Outsiders), and John Clayton (Farscape, Water Rats)
Release Date – 1975
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – “Two guys, one girl, and no brakes”
I’ve been watching several releases from Australia’s Umbrella Entertainment lately. There was a mix up between them and myself so they sent me their May releases to check out that was already on store shelves. I tried to work through these as quick as possible. They sent over some quality stuff. The first one I checked out was their Howling III: The Marsupials release which is part of their Ozploitation Classics line.
The next was their Howling Collection which consisted of Howling III, IV, V, VI. The first and last film in the set was solid but the middle two films was a rough one to sit through. I then moved on to their Two From Hell double feature with Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. I was obsessed with these films when they were released and it was nice to revisit them both. The last film sent to me was one I had no experience with. This 1975 Ozploitation film Sidecar Racers was a new one to me and I couldn’t wait to check it out. Thank you Umbrella for sending this one my way.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows American Jeff Rayburn (Murphy) who is traveling Australia trying to figure out life when he meets the beautiful Lynn Carson (Hughes) on the beach. He is immediately taken by her beauty but quickly learns that she is in an unusual relationship with sidecar racer Dave (Clayton) who recently lost his sidecar partner in an accident. Lynn also takes a liking to Jeff and suggests he can be Dave’s new partner. With some work they realize that they click very well together and put together a winning streak that could land them on the circuit in Europe which is where the real money is. Their racing on the track does not reflect the boiling tensions between the two men who are fighting for Lynn’s attention along with the other perils of sidecar racing. **Spoiler Alert**
I didn’t know what to expect going into this one. I loved the artwork for it. There is just something about 70s and 80s movie posters that always build excitement and imagination for a new movie. Sidecar Racers did not disappoint. It was a little too love triangle’d for me but the storytelling was able to move passed that.
The acting in this one is fantastic. Ben Murphy and Wendy Hughes was great. Their characters are fun and they worked very well together. While looking for trailers or images to use for the review I couldn’t help but noticed that a lot of sites that covered this film was hung up on Ben Murphy. That’s cool but the real star of the show is John Clayton. He was a fantastic actor and his character in the film was the highlight of the whole movie. His desire to win mixed with his asshole bravado worked very well. Easily the scene stealer.
The story for this one mixes drama, high speed action, with a little dash of romance. The whole love triangle thing always bored me in films. It felt like a cheap ploy to make boring characters seem more interesting than they really are. Sidecar Racers doesn’t use that as the focus of the film. It’s a story element but one that takes the backseat through most of the film. The action comes and goes. It is evenly paced through the film to help hold the viewer’s attention. Some of the scenes are dialogue rich but the dialogue isn’t bad. It’s actually pretty fun.
Finally, if you want blood and gore you won’t find it here. We have a few deaths but they aren’t gruesome or dragged out for slasher fans. They hit quick and move on with no practical effects. Overall, Sidecar Racers was a fun watch. If you are looking for some 70s entertainment I highly recommend this one. The DVD quality isn’t the best but the movie itself is well worth it. Check it out.