QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded
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BMX Bandits

BMX Bandits (1983), perhaps best known as Nicole Kidman's first movie role, is a childish movie about some bicycle motorcross (BMX) enthusiast kids who inadvertantly get mixed up with some bumbling bank robbers. Today it could be pitched as The Goonies kids with Premium Rush bike chases. This one is full 1980s New South Wales. Drinking game: take a shot every time you see someone in a jumpsuit.

It feels like half of the movie exists to show "Can we get a bike to do this? To go here?" Down an escalator in a strip mall? Yes. Through a quarry? Yes. Jumping golfers in a sand trap? Yup. Use a VW Bug as a jump? Sure. Between tables at a pizza restaurant? You got it. Interference in a rugby game? It's there. Down a waterslide? Well, they do it, but not actually riding the bikes.

But for all of the silliness of the plot, the filming is fantastic. On the special features for Crank (Jason Stratham's Speed meets D.O.A. film between Transporter and Transporter 2), one of the two directors explains that when you put the camera in danger you make the audience feel like they are in danger. In Crank they do things like skateboard with the camera. In BMX Bandits they do things that could have inspired the GoPro people, like attach the camera to the bikes at six inches off the ground. There are times when do wonder, did the camera make it through all of the takes? The cinematographer was John Seale who has a long list of good titles: Rain Man, Dead Poets Society, The Perfect Storm, Cold Mountain, and an Oscar for his cinematography on The English Patient.

Six stolen police band walkie-talkies out of nine.

Selected links:

BMX Bandits at IMDB

Premium Rush at IMDB

Crank at IMDB

Final thought: and the movie poster screams 80s video game box / cabinet art