HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Viva Knievel! Evel, Aye
Year: 1977
Director: Gordon Douglas
Stars: Evel Knievel, Gene Kelly, Lauren Hutton, Red Buttons, Leslie Nielsen, Cameron Mitchell, Frank Gifford, Marjoe Gortner, Eric Olson, Sheila Allen, Albert Salmi, Dabney Coleman, Ernie F. Orsatti, Sidney Klute, Robert Tafur
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's late at night in the orphanage, and the little boys are asleep, but what's this? A shadowy figure pushing a large box in front of him into the dormitory? He approaches one of the beds and whispers to wake him up, but it's all right because he's famed stunt motorcycle rider Evel Knievel and he has brought the children presents of his stunt toy merchandise to play with. They all gather round excitedly as he hands out the goodies, and one child shows his gratitude by walking without the aid of his crutches - it's a miracle! Then Sister Charity appears, scolding Evel for waking the boys up, so he has to leave.

And just as well, because he has a big stunt to perform the next day. Viva Knievel was the hero-worshipping vehicle for the world's most celebrated human crash test dummy, and Warner Bros, who produced the film, expected it to clean up at the box office. Unfortunately for them, 1977 was not only the year this was released but also the year its star went to prison for severely beating up his biographer and publicity manager with a baseball bat, an act that didn't make him seem quite so heroic, and more deeply unpleasant and out of control. So already the bandwagon was grinding to a halt.

This left the film all at sea, but even if had been a hit it's doubtful it would have gone down in history as anything but a puffed up vanity project. It was notable, however, for the amount of hasbeens in the cast, as the curiously charisma-free Evel, playing "Himself", is surrounded by the calibre of star that puts his movie on the level of the average seventies television pilot. And funnily enough, the stunts resemble the kind of action you would see on an episode of CHiPs. Leading the cast of "must have needed the money" actors is Gene Kelly in a depressingly downbeat performance.

Kelly is Will, Evel's mechanic, an alcoholic who is estranged from his young son Tommy (Eric Olson, who looks better suited to playing his grandson) after his wife died in childbirth. Big-hearted Evel sets up a reunion but it doesn't go well - Will just doesn't want the boy around - so yet another distracting subplot forges ahead. The main narrative is particularly convoluted, involving a plot to kill Evel while he's putting on a show in Mexico and then transporting drugs back to the United States in his trailer, but never fear, the baddies never get as far as killing him; Evel had a line in doing that to himself, anyway.

If there's one effective thing about Viva Knievel it's that it matches the monstrous ego of the man, and it appears the filmmakers knew what we wanted to see: crashes. Just as in real life, the daredevil smashes up his bike and his body, here in a stunt that has him attempting but failing to jump over some lions (yeah, it is a lot like that episode of The Simpsons). Actually, it wasn't Evel performing the stunts in the film because it would have been an insurance nightmare, but we get the spirit of the man's act nevertheless. There's also a rival rider to contend with, in the unlikely shape of Marjoe Gortner, but he redeems himself when he takes Evel's place in a stunt orchestrated to go wrong by the villains. Really, the lengths the film goes to when putting its dodgy star on a pedestal are ridiculous, there's even an anti-drugs message to stick in the throat, and in those star-spangled outfits the superhero parallels are there for all to see. File under "amusing for the wrong reasons". Music by Charles Bernstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5014 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: