Occasionally here at So Is It Any Good we like to revisit old films from our childhood to see whether they still hold up to scrutiny years later. This week, we’re tackling an Ozploitation favourite from 1983 starring a young Nicole Kidman, BMX Bandits.
So, is it still any good?
I vividly remember one school holidays in the mid nineties when some friends and I watched the shit out of a VHS rental of BMX Bandits, all secretly wishing we could pull off tricks even half as hardcore as the characters in the film. At the time I thought it was an action packed adrenaline rush from start to finish, but on a recent viewing of the film it quickly became obvious my eight year old self needed a good slap in the face, because unlike Nicole Kidman’s hair, this movie just doesn’t hold up.The plot of BMX Bandits is as simple as you’d expect from an Ozpolitation film from this era, essentially boiling down to a group of youths who become entangled with a bunch of bank robbers after stumbling upon a box of walkie-talkies. Filmed around locations on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the home grown affair was directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith who also directed the bat-shit crazy Turkey Shoot.
Unlike Nicole Kidman’s hair, this movie just doesn’t hold up.
The main issue with the movie is the pacing, and although the film clocks in at just under ninety minutes, it feels a hell of a lot longer. There’s one section in particular where the gang gets sidetracked in a graveyard where the the film hits the breaks hard, and for a movie called BMX Bandits, you’re forced to wait an awful long time for some actual BMXing.
Then there’s the acting which ranges from passable to just plain laughable. The two main boys in particular have two of the most punchable faces you’re ever likely to see on film, and half the time you just wish the crooks would catch them already. Then there’s Our Nicole, rocking the red curls at the age of 16 in one of her first acting roles. She’s not as annoying as the lads, but there are times when her dialogue is borderline cringe worthy, and I personally would love to know what the actress thinks of the film now. It must be said that some of the stunts are impressive, and whilst its certainly no Blues Brothers, there is fun to be had from watching the collateral damage left behind from the bike chases, one of which takes place in the now defunct Manly Waterworks. And there’s a certain amount of enjoyment to be had from spotting the many obvious shots of stunt doubles filling in for the actors, Kidman’s character in particular.
BMX Bandits may have captured my imagination as a kid with its way cool stunts and killer hairdos, but watching it as an adult is a frustrating exercise. If you’re a fan of watching shit films along with a few beers on a Friday night then maybe give it a go as I did, but I’m talking like at least a six pack, maybe more. For everyone else, I’d recommend dusting off the Playstation 2 and playing a good old game of Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX instead.