Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Born Losers (1967)

One of my favourite biker movies of all times is a typical product of the golden period that opened right after Roger Corman kicked the door out with "The Wild Angels" provoking a maniacal craze of wacky B-flicks featuring rebellious, leather-clad, chopper riding brutes in every titillating scenario known to a man. Although from today's perspective biker genre was a rather mixed bag with only few off-beat productions entertaining enough to become classics and a lot of crap I wouldn't even use in a private, toilet screening, it gave a lot of water to 70's gangsploitation, passed primitivist, scruffy esethetics to post-apocalyptic movies like "Mad Max" and last but not least became a direct inspiration for "Easy Rider" (the ultimate biker movie in a way).

"The Born Losers" was supposed to be a genuine Billy Jack workout initially, but as Tom Laughlin coudn't find financing for his first draft, he decided to take AIP alley and amp it up with a bunch of nasty biker characters. As Samuel Zarkoff and Jim Nicholson were rolling high at that time, flush with cash from Corman's international success of "The Wild Angels", they wanted to see some more golden eggs – biker movie was the word of the day! The same year "Rebel Rousers" with Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern was made (icky shit released in 1970!) and also "Devil's Angels", both for AIP. There would be at least 20 or 30 other takes on the genre, produced till the end of the 60's by all independent American film companies. Most of them as dull as it gets with joke of a script, cheapish backdrop and waiters-to-actors cast over night. However, even these dumb chunks of schlock get hugged by a bunch of biker movie aficionados.

While later films with Billy Jack are better remebered for their saucy, martial arts action, "The Born Losers" carries a real story or even two stories, roughly mingled together as it's hard to figure out which one is the main plot. Half-indian, ex green beret and survival specialist, Billy Jack just came back from Vietnam and he treks through the wilderness eating raw fish, but soon he'll have to hit L.A. to wire some dear cash... in the end he's forced to sell his jeep for a cup of piss, but that's the way it is, man! Unfortunately enough Born To Lose MC are rumbling through the hood ("getting their kicks from torture and violence" again) and they accidentally cross their dicks with Billy Jack, who takes the fuckers, but is fined by the court afterwards for using the rifle to shoot one of the brutes. Hence the message is coined: "Doing good will get you nothing, but trouble".

But the bikers will have a new challenge soon when they pull a biker girl in white bikini off two-lane blacktop by fixing the road sign and trapping her in dead end (some slapstick humour here). As they find out, she's a proper child of the social revolution and seeing a brutal rape going down any minute, she chooses to be nice and enter their pad for the official initiation. When a proposition of making it out on acid and speed cannot be met as boys are tapped out, she flees knocking out one of the bikers first. They will go after, catch and pork her, as well as three other city girls the same day. From that point it's clear, that these bikers do not obey, they piss gasoline & shit nails in your face, hijack police cars and also terrorize victims when a case is filed against them in court. They are bad motherfuckers with guns, rifles and nazi helmets flashing with lastest, fashionable outfits like black turtlenecks, native ponchos, denim cuts and badges glorifying happy life on drugs.

Stoners, dropouts, drunks and scumbags is how bikers are drawn here and their prez is played by Jeremy Slate. They have everybody by the pubes and only Billy Jack is not gonna shit his pants – that's basically the main line. The rest is a usual mixture of AIP's exploitative salt & pepper. Some social references to late 60's psychedelic culture, ridiculous, over the top acting, eclectic style of directing, which blends para-documentary realism with 300 cuts in one day Corman's quickie, mild nudity (always edited in with violence scenes) and proto-punk (or post-beatnik?) costumes. Honestly, this is a long and "elaborate" film, which calls for a good bong. Genre fans will have definitely plenty of fun checking out Born To Lose MC vs. Billy Jack and The Girl In White Bikini plot. I'm not sure if it's laid-back vibe or its salacious, roguish musings – kind of exploitation surrealism – but every new twist helps you pull through it till the end. Davie Allan & The Arrows biker sound themes are nice touch as well. You're not gonna go further up from here in the genre, at least not very often.


Anonymous said...


Conradino Beb said...

Recenzje filmow po polsku wracaja na Magivange!