Written by: Ron Cotton on December 15th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: December 22nd, 1983 Australia
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Writers: Patrick Edgeworth, Russell Hagg
Cast: David Argue, John Ley, Nicole Kidman, Angelo D’Angelo, James
Lugton, Bryan Marshalls
DVD released: 2005
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4.3 (Pan & Scanned from 2.35:1)
DVD Release: Digiview Productions
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $1.00
“Great Idea, will we get it before or after we have our bikes gold plated?” – Goose (James Lugton)
Thieves wearing Halloween rubber masks a la “The Three Little Pigs” break the local bank and successfully getaway with the loot. Tired of being harassed by security for biking, Goose (James Lugton) and PJ (Angelo D’Angelo) discuss the need for a local bike park. After Goose and PJ accidentally crash headlong into Judy’s runaway carts ruining their bikes, Judy (Nicole Kidman) looses her only job. As a result, PJ, Goose and Judy befriend each other. Needing cash to get some BMX bikes, the three devise a plan and accidentally uncover a cache of several transistor walkie talkies underwater. Unbeknownst to them, the handhelds are all tuned to police radio frequencies. The three sell their great find among their friends as the thieves attempt to get their hands on the radios for their own nefarious deeds.
At times BMX Bandits becomes over-dramatized utilizing every camera trick in the book. Aimed at a younger audience feeding into the BMX fad, this film satisfies these ends. When the dialog skimps, the camera angles and dolly shots become theatrical, filling the screen with a larger than life tale. The dialog is filled with snappy quick witted humor although the BMX theme becomes very one sided. BMX Bandits debuts a 16-year-old Nicole Kidman whose acting skill was exemplary even in her youth.
“You know what they say – Twos company, three gets us talked about.” – Judy (Nicole Kidman)
There’s one song with vocals, the rest of the musical interludes with cheesy 80s synth-style music. The strong color schemes and silly attitudes are ashamedly 80′s. BMX Bandits was filmed in South Wales, Australia. Did I mention that the entire cast is Australian? Receiving Four Australian Film Institute Nominations, its surprising BMX Bandits didn’t win awards with its simplistic appeal.
BMX Bandits isn’t in its true aspect ratio of 2.35:1 yet not as cropped as some screenshots lead one to believe on the back of the package. Most if not all of the action and talking remains on screen making this translation to full-frame not as horrendous as other budget titles.
The 35mm film grain is very strong during the night scenes leading me to believe that the same film stock that was used in the bright Australian days was used in the dimly lit night. No real DVD extras to mention, except for the self-made Digiview trailer catalog.
This film is highly entertaining, utilizing great camera angles, a simple story with excellent acting and a script with snappy dialog. A gripping action youth film that delivers the goods, Highly Recommended.