I firmly believe that a film, particularly an action flick, must
open with an adrenaline pumping opening sequence. Something that
makes you settle deeper into the puffy theater cushions as you gleefully
anticipate the rest of the movie. Biker Boyz does just that! The
movie begins with the introduction of its cast notably “Kid” portrayed
by Derek Luke, Djimon Hounsou as “Motherland” and Larenz Tate as
“Wood.” Then in one of the movie’s cooler scenes the “Black Knights”
enter in exacting military cadence. Behind the full throttle line
of bikers is Smoke (Laurence Fishburne). He surveys the landscape
of varying motorcycle clubs like a warrior surveying his conquests.
Soul Train (Orlando Jones) then proceeds to announce the “arrival”
of the Warrior King with outlandish reverie. After this the real
fun of the scene begins although it does end in tragedy.
Biker Boyz is based on an article that appeared in the Los Angeles
New Times in 1999. It detailed the rarely heard of world of black
motorcycle clubs that fraternize and compete in races up and down
southern California. This is a world where African-Americans are
lawyers, pediatricians and bankers during their professional hours
who, during off-hours, transform into hard core bikers intoxicated
by the spell of colorful two wheeled mechanical beasts. Biker Boyz
gives a glimpse of this lifestyle in a stylized modern western format.
Authenticity is lent to the film as the majority of extras and bike
riders in the film were from the actual motorcycle clubs.
The story is simple: Smoke is the “King of Cali” and everyone attempts
to take his crown. Kid in an attempt to prove his manhood forms
his own motorcycle club, the movie’s namesake, Biker Boyz. The Biker
Boyz are a multicultural group—white, Hispanic, Asian and black
youths who make their own rules. Of course, they come into conflict
with the strict codes and discipline demanded of Smoke and the elder
bike club presidents. I got chills as the movie reveled in displaying
elaborate biking races and stunts such as doing a rolling endo (putting
the bike on the front wheel with the back tire up in the air) at
80 miles an hour. Derek Luke has an amazing screen presence that
aptly matches the smoldering intensity that Lawrence Fishburne exudes.
A key aspect of the movie is its emotional center which elevates
this movie over other action films. While the director Reg Rock
Bythewood (husband of Gina Prince-Bythewood, “Love & Basketball”)
puts great emphasis on the now formulaic study of the father-son
relationship, I thought Kid’s relationship with his anguished mother
added a greater heat to the film. The musical score is in perfect
harmony in capturing the passions of the film. Despite its soft
ending, Biker Boyz is highly entertaining and also intriguing because
of its insider view on another aspect of black life.
Biker Boyz features a veritable who’s who ensemble cast: Lisa Bonet,
Kid Rock, Rick Gonzalez, Meagan Good, Salli Richardson-Whitfield,
Vanessa Bell Calloway, Tyson Beckford, Terrence Howard and Kadeem