Let’s start this review off with talking a little about the release itself.
First thing to note is this is the first time Rad has been releases since VHS and a limited run on Laserdisc. Vinegar Syndrome finally brings this film to not only Blu-ray, but 4K release as well. It is packed with tons of bonus features including a 25 year event that was held for fans of the film, archive interviews with the cast and crew, tons of new audio interviews, music videos, all new commentaries, and more. The 4K transfer is amazing and most likely the best this film will ever look. On another note, the packaging is nothing short of a work of art in it’s own right. Featuring one side of the slipcover having a lenticular cover, the other side with a shiny, foil to it. Bear in mind, the shiny side will scratch very easily. We also get a double-sided poster featuring the original art on one side and a map of Helltrack on the other.
Rad was directed by stuntman turned director, Hal Needham, who was once the highest paid stuntman in the world. Hal is likely to be best know for directing the first two Smokey and the Bandit films along with Cannonball Run. The two main stars of this film are Cru Jones, played by Bill Allen, and Christian, played by Lori Loughlin. Lori is best known for her role as Rebecca in “Full” and “Fuller House.” Bill did have a role in the Tom Cruise film Born on the 4th of July and “Breaking Bad.” Other than that, mostly TV shows and B-Movies.
The plot to Rad is pretty simple. You have a contest coming to the town where BMX riders fight for a chance to race on the Helltrack. The winner walks away with a hefty grand prize. They bring with them some of the best riders in the world and most are played by actual riders or stuntmen, so as to not have to replace the actors with doubles. The main person Cru is up against in this film is Bart Taylor and his Mongoose team.
Bart is actually an Olympic gymnast and this was his first feature film role. We also have a love story in here between the characters of Cru and Christian, which doesn’t take anything away from the fact that this is a BMX film first and foremost. We also have in this film none other than Adrian herself from the Rocky films playing Cru’s mom, actress Talia Shire. You do get some tension between the riders and the person holding the event wanting to make sure that Cru does not win and his number one guy Bart stays at the top. Not much in the sense of an actual “villain” though.
My Overall Thoughts
Like most people my age or a little older, I grew up with Rad. Is this an actual good film? No, it is not. The acting is not the best, the plot is, well, it’s whatever, and it’s super cheesy. Do I absolutely love this film? You’re damn straight I do.
This is one of those films you can watch over and over and never get tired of. From the tricks in the opening credit scene to the super cheesy “Send Me An Angel ” scene and everything else, this film just makes you feel something. Watching this with my 13 year old son and letting him see what it was like being a kid back then, not to mention him just getting into BMX himself, his face was glued to the screen most of the runtime.
All in all, Rad is a must own film for anyone who just enjoys film in general.
I give this one 5 ass-slides outta 5.