Human oddities, an entertainment staple since Barnum, are usually limited to “American Idol” these days, but Frank P. DeLarzelere III — a.k.a. Biker Fox — is a genuinely singular personality: a health-advocating personification of unresolved anger, public advocate of personal privacy, antagonist of civil authority and muscle-car parts supplier to the southwestern United States. As the subject of Jeremy Lamberton’s protracted but generally engaging “Biker Fox,” he’s unforgettable, even if the docu likely will generate limited appeal while pedaling its way around the festival circuit.
First-person verite is kind of a contradiction, but when Lamberton hands the camera off to the fantastic Mr. Fox, that’s what we get. The subject pontificates — not quite tongue-in-cheek — about the importance of healthful diet and exercise (when he adopted his current regime of long-distance biking and no fried foods, he lost 90 pounds, we’re told). He is, we are also told, the first and only person to do a front flip on a mountain bike (stunts are limited to the opening credits, accompanied by Queen’s “Bicycle Race”.)
To call him aggressive, even when he’s filming alone, would be a grotesque understatement, and Biker Fox’s run-ins with the law seem to attest to a hunger for confrontation — even if the cops seem easily baited by Fox’s persona and patented look (tight, loud, branded T-shirts; Spandex biker shorts; a dangling fringe of curls circling the outskirts of his otherwise hairless skull). This is Tulsa, after all.
For all the time we spend with the man, “Biker Fox” is a performance piece, from which auds will have to draw their own conclusions. He’s an animal nut — in one of the movie’s two more memorable sequences, he starts feeding one wild raccoon by hand, and a few cuts later at least 20 raccoons have filled the frame. (The other scene also features a raccoon, one that leaps ferociously at the camera while we listen to a Biker rant).
The man has no personal relationships we can detect, outside of the few people who work for him and the car-parts customers he frequently abuses on the phone. His past is an enigma, and the basis of his anger, which he admits to, is a secret. Without some kind of insight into what makes Biker Fox who he is, it’s all a bit shallow, if frequently entertaining.
Production values are raggedy, save for the sound, which is excellent. And rough edges are not out of line with the tone of the piece.