• Return Of The Rebels

    Released by: MGM Limited Edition Collection
    Released on: October 18, 2011.
    Director: Noel Nosseck
    Cast: Barbara Eden, Patrick Swayze, Don Murray, Jamie Farr
    Year: 1981
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    The Movie:

    In Noel Nosseck’s fairly awful 1981 made for TV biker film, Barbara ‘Dreamy Genie’ Eden plays Mary Beth Allen, the widowed owner and operator of a lovely lakeside campground/resort that has run into trouble as of late. See, a gang of goofy surfer guys in vans lead by a man named K.C. Barnes (Patrick Swayze) have decided to hang out a little longer than anyone wants to and to more or less do whatever they feel like on the property. This is obviously bad for business and complicating matters even further is the fact that K.C. has got a thing for Mary Beth, who still looks pretty good despite the fact that she’s probably old enough to be his mother.

    What to do, what to do… well, most folks would probably just call the cops but no, not Mary Beth. See, twenty-five years ago her husband was the member of a nasty motorcycle gang and she’s still got ties with some of those hog riding bad boys, many of whom hold the memory of her late beau in high regard. She makes a phone call and before you know it, a guy named Sonny Morgan (Don Murray) and a few other aging toughs have shown up to give those pesky youngsters what for!

    Played more for laughs than for any sort of serious intentions, Return Of The Rebels is decidedly unfunny and not particularly exciting. It’s fun to see Swayze macking on Barbara Eden here, and as such there’s a modicum of camp value to be gleaned from a viewing, but outside of that the only thing that this snoozefest has to offer are some bad one liners that come courtesy of Jamie Farr. Eden is decent enough as the female lead and she’s well cast here as her sex appeal is still potent enough that, yeah, okay, maybe the Swaz would want to tap that but outside of that aspect of the story, it’s tough to suspend your disbelief for this one. The older bikers don’t come across as tough enough to take on your grandmother and the young surf punk/beach bum guys are about as threatening as a chipmunk, leather jackets or not. You just don’t ever buy the fact that these older guys are tough enough to take on the non-threatening but slightly frisky younger guys.

    This could have all been made up for if there were enough action in the movie to help us overlook this rather glaring missteps, but no, there’s really none of that here at all. There’s a very brief scuffle towards the end of the movie but… that’s it. Those hoping that this would deliver all the sleaze and cheap thrills that the best of the biker films offered in the sixties and seventies will be sorely disappointed, as this one is tame, even by early eighties made for network TV standards.


    MGM’s 1.33.1 fullframe transfer presents the film in what we can safely assume is its proper broadcast aspect ratio and generally it looks quite good here. Detail is strong, color looks great and there’s not much print damage at all, really, just a few spots that look a little heavier in the grain department than others for whatever reason. Overall this is clean, well authored, free of compression artifacts or edge enhancement and generally a strong picture.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track, in the film’s native English, is also fine. Levels are well balanced and there are no problems with hiss or distortion to report. Don’t expect any subtitles or alternate language tracks, you’ll be disappointed, but the audio is of perfectly good quality here, even if there’s nothing particularly remarkable about it.

    If a static menu and chapter stops are your idea of extras, you’ll be pleased, otherwise, there’s nothing here, not even a trailer unfortunately.

    The Final Word:

    MGM’s DVD-R looks and sounds just fine, so if you’re a glutton for punishment and really enjoy dull, sanitized and pedestrian movies, step right up. However, if you’re looking for something a little more interesting in terms of action, direction, acting, storytelling or any other characteristic you’d care to name, then Return Of The Rebels is probably not for you.