“Why We Ride” Movie Review

My wife hates it when I dissect a movie after seeing it. She would say, “Can’t you just enjoy what it has to offer?”. Well, at the risk of alienating my RITZ blog readers who really want to like the “Why We Ride” movie, I will now poop on your parade.

Speaking of poop, please take my opinion as what it is. You know what they say about opinions? No? They say, “Opinions are like ***holes: everyone has one, and most stink”. Well, hold your nose because here is my opinion.

Before I give you my review, take a look at the trailer:


Pretty good, huh? Let’s see what it’s really like…

Beautiful Videography

Beautiful Videography

Video Craftsmanship: A-

The trailer gives a good impression of the visual quality of the film, which is very, very good. The videography is beautiful and inspirational. But, what is up with all the slow-mo?

I love super-slow motion footage, especially the shots of Moto GP racers dragging elbow. And the footage of the rubber-mounted Harley Davidson XR1200 race bike engines rocking in their frames at idle made me LOL.

But, there is a thing called “too much of a good thing”. The slow motion stuff was cool for about half the film, but unfortunately, it went on and on and on and on.

And why on earth would you show only slow motion footage of race bikes on the high banks of Daytona and never show how it really feels at over 170 mph? I know plenty of friends who could have provided some awesome on-bike video that would have driven home the craziness of the Daytona banking at speed. All they needed was one or two trackside shots of a bike flying by to paint a better picture.

I’ll admit that the super-slow stuff is fun to watch, but it kinda distanced me from what riding is really like. I get that the director was wanting to set a tone of romance and wonder, but for an enthusiast, I was a bit bored toward the middle of the film, partly because the action wasn’t really engaging at slow motion. It comes off more as a parlor trick.

Music: C-

The sappy music department worked overtime on this film. Again, I get what they were trying to do, and I’m sure the violin music hit a sentimental chord (ha, ha) with a lot of viewers, but it tried too hard. Mix it up with some raunchy head smacking tunes now and again to represent the vigor that many of us experience when riding. I can understand why they might not want to represent motorcyclists as people who relate to AC/DC (or whatever floats your boat), but everyone knows that motorcycle riders aren’t typical people who gaze with soft-focus at our bikes with violin virtuosos playing quietly in the background. My iPod tends to stream tunes that are a bit less somniatic (It means “puts me to sleep”… and I know it’s not a real word, I looked it up).

The message is all about family, fun and adventure.

The message is all about family, fun and adventure.

Overall Message: B+

The message this film delivers is “riding a motorcycle is fun”. Duh! I am reminded of the introductory video shown to new MSF students at the beginning of their first classroom session. It’s a lovely little diddy about the joy of riding a motorcycle. It includes many of the same things “Why We Ride” has, including fun action shots (at full speed) and interviews with interesting people. But, the message is delivered in about 5 minutes. “Why We Ride” took one point five hours to deliver the same basic message.
Granted, the film is intended to deliver more than a message, it is also about entertainment (maybe more so). So, in that regard it is worth the extra hour and 25 minutes.

Here is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation “Welcome to the Ride” video:

Is “Why We Ride” worth Seeing?: A

Yes. The fun shots of the families and kids are priceless, as are the interviews with some of my motorcycling heros, which makes the film well worth seeing.

I was totally loving the film during the first third and then they unmercifully started beating the poor dead horse. I get it, I get it. Riding is awesome and people who DO NOT ride are missing out on life. I couldn’t agree more.

It’s a movie that you will want your family and friends to see as an attempt to convey just why you ride a motorcycle. They still might think you’re nuts, but it’s worth a shot.

Both enthusiasts and regular people will like this film, as long as you don’t expect a groundbreaking classic here. For that, rent “On Any Sunday” , or if you love roadracing try “Faster” and the sequel “Fastest” (see trailers below).

But,  that’s just my opinion…what is that smell?

My Movie Picks:

On any Sunday:

Faster:

Fastest:

How about buying a book?

How about buying a t-shirt for yourself or a loved one, or maybe a coffee mug?

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Ken is author of "Motorcycling the Right Way” and "Riding in the Zone" (book and blog). He is also the "Street Savvy" columnist for Motorcyclist Magazine, and former longtime author of the Proficient Motorcycling and Street Strategies columns for Motorcycle Consumer News. Ken is Lead Instructor for Tony's Track Days, a 20 year Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor, and owner of Riding in the Zone Motorcyclist Training.

Posted in All Things Motorcycle, Motorcycle Musings Tagged with: , , , , , ,
3 comments on ““Why We Ride” Movie Review
  1. Greg H says:

    The music didn’t really bother me, certainly not as much as the overuse of slow motion. Your thoughts on the slow motion are spot on. I wanted to be more engaged and see the excitement of the bikes – the most exciting scenes in the movie were the two scenes that weren’t in slo-mo: 250+ mph at Bonneville and the overhead Moto GP shots. Those 20 seconds of the film got my blood pumping. But I never saw a full speed hill climb, or dragster take off, or anything else. It really detracted from it.

  2. Dave S says:

    I really think the film is aimed at folks who don’t ride. The addicted, self included, must see everything “motorcycle” because there isn’t much of it and especially in film. Heck, we usually have to put up with listening to a four cylinder howl coming from a v-twin and dirt bike tires on sport bikes and such… but I digress. I found the lack of emphasis on touring and commuting to be disappointing and the music to be more tear-jerker than upbeat. Or maybe it was just to grand and pomp to go with dirt bikes? Still glad I saw it and would highly recommend to people who don’t ride. I rather doubt many will see it in theaters but if they did it would be cool as the visuals are great!

  3. Ian Vivero says:

    Your thoughts pretty much confirmed my expectations. I was really excited about this movie until I watched the whole trailer instead of just the first half. It’s never a good sign when the trailer itself becomes dull. I’m sure I’ll end up seeing it at some point but I’ll stick with other options until it ends up being stuck in my face

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