Biker Boyz Movie Poster Image

Biker Boyz

(i)

 

Think MTV does biker movie with great cast.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 111 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive role models

Most characters strong, brave, African-Americans, interracial friendship and loyalty.

Violence

Characters in peril, one killed, one badly hurt.

Sex

Sexual situations and references, including paternity questions

Language

Some strong language

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that characters drink, smoke, and use strong language. There are sexual references and situations. There is some sexual humor and there are references to promiscuity and issues of paternity (with a traumatic discovery), but the relationship of the main characters is loving and devoted. Characters are in peril and there is serious injury and one death. Characters also "hustle" by pretending not to be able to race and betting a lot of money. While most characters are African-American, the gangs are open to all races, and Jaleel's group has white, Hispanic, and Asian members. Characters get tattooed. The bikers engage in racing that is not just very dangerous but also illegal, and at one point some are arrested.

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What's the story?

Jaleel (Derek Luke) adores his father Will (Eriq La Salle), the mechanic and best friend of the "King of Cali," Smoke (Laurence Fishburne), the fastest biker in California. When Will is killed while standing on the sidelines of a race, Jaleel is devastated and blames Smoke. He stays away for six months and then shows up, bitterly angry and bursting to take Smoke down. But Jaleel has to earn the right to race Smoke, first by joining a gang and then by winning some races. Each confrontation moves the story forward until the big moment when Jaleel and Smoke, more alike and more connected than they realized, challenge each other to do what Will always said, "Burn rubber, not soul."

Is it any good?

QUALITY

It's mainly a bunch of music video-style motorcycle races punctuated with brief interludes that are more dramatic place-holders than story. But a top-notch cast, some flashy camera work, and attitude to spare make BIKER BOYZ highly watchable. It offers a look at a vibrant sub-culture -- a fully-functioning society based on honor, dreams, loyalty, flair, and, of course, a huge helping of extravagantly macho contests. One of the movie's strengths is the way that this sub-culture has its own dignity and honor; it is clear that cheating, hustling, and disloyalty are not allowed and that any challenger is welcome.

The plot tries to be epic and primal, but it is just derivative and creaky. What works, though are performances by very arresting actors. Fishburne, Jones, Luke, and Vanessa Bell Calloway as Jaleel's mother give a lot of snap to the lukewarm dialogue. In small roles, Djimon Hounsou, Lorenz Tate, Rick Gonzalez, and Meagan Good are vibrant and distinctive.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the biker culture is like and not like other cultures they know. What are the rules? How is status determined? How does that compare to groups in school? In sports? Or show business? What do you think about Smoke's decision in the last race? Why does Jaleel say what he does about the helmet?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 31, 2003
DVD release date:June 10, 2003
Cast:Derek Luke, Laurence Fishburne, Orlando Jones
Director:Reggie Rock Bythewood
Studio:DreamWorks
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:111 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence, sexual content, and language

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