Film Review: ‘Why We Ride’

Why We Ride Review

Director Bryan H. Carroll's feature-length love letter to motorcycle racing is far too earnest to connect with a broader audience.

Treating motorcycle enthusiasts and the objects of their obsession with the utmost reverence, the lovingly crafted documentary “Why We Ride” ultimately chokes on the fumes of bombastic self-seriousness. Director Bryan H. Carroll’s feature-length love letter is far too earnest to connect with the broader audience it’s clearly seeking in limited theatrical play. Smoother roads lie ahead via imminent home video release, where the pic can serve as a fitting holiday gift for those who find riding a Harley akin to having a religious experience.

Carroll takes his cues from the old “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” ad campaign as a sort of pop-culture corrective to the badass bikers portrayed in everything from “The Wild One” (briefly excerpted here) to “Sons of Anarchy,” and loads up on talking heads to demonstrate all-American variety within the ranks. Unfortunately, the wide age range and reasonable gender balance among the interviewees noticeably lacks racial or cultural diversity. It’s not long before the starry-eyed platitudes all start to sound the same, while ham-fisted attempts at prosthelytizing fall flat. Pic at least looks great, thanks to crisp HD lensing by Andrew Waruszewski and Douglas Cheney.

Film Review: 'Why We Ride'

Reviewed at Technicolor Hollywood, Oct. 22, 2013. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 89 MIN.

Production

A Walking West Entertainment and Gnarlynow Entertainment presentation in association with Santa Susana Studios. Produced by James Walker, Bryan H. Carroll. Executive producer, Walter Zuck. Co-producer, Chris Hampel. Co-executive producers, George Gier, Andrew Hilton.

Crew

Directed by Bryan H. Carroll. Written by Chris Hampel. Camera (color, HD), Andrew Waruszewski, Douglas Cheney; editors, Ryan Wise, David Blackburn; music, Steven Gutheinz; music supervisor, Vicki Hiatt; sound (Dolby Digital), Steve Jones; supervising sound editor, Gregory M. Gerlich; re-recording mixers, Kevin O'Connell, Carlos Sanches; visual effects supervisor, Robert Stadd; visual effects, VFX Collective; associate producer, Gerlich.

With

Ed Kretz Jr., Donna Jean Kretz, Jay Allen, Gloria Struck, Ted Simon, Alonzo Bodden.

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  1. Chuck says:

    Just saw the movie “Why we ride”. A great, inspiring film about the love of motorcycles. I don’t understand why Variety critic Geoff Berkshire feels the need to complain about “lack of racial diversity”.
    It’s a documentary about the history and culture of Motorcyles, not the civil rights area. He is clearly too politically uptight to enjoy a ride on a bike, much less see a movie about them.

    • JD says:

      Racial diversity? When i was a newbie and riding in Fayetville, N.C. one of the guys who hung around with us was a black guy. This was in the early sixties no less. Carl was treated as one of the guys. He rode with us everywhere, but he couldn’t go into the restaurants with us when we stopped to get something to eat. At Red Nabor’s motorcycle shop in Fayettville, we were way ahead of the curve when it came to civil rights. Riding motorcycles together was more important than conforming to a social code based on skin color.

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