• The Cycle Savages (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: July 8th, 2020.
    Director: Bill Brame
    Cast: Bruce Dern, Melody Patterson, Chris Robinson, Maray Ayres, Casey Kasem
    Year: 1969
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    The Cycle Savages – Movie Review:

    Bill Brame’s 1969 film, The Cycle Savages, revolves around Keeg (Bruce Dern), a rough and tumble biker who likes his booze, likes his dope and likes his women. He hangs with the equally crazy Sandy (Mary Ayres), a beautiful woman who often finds herself on the wrong side of his hair trigger temper. Keeg’s older brother (Casey Kasem of all people!) runs a white slave trading business and Keeg’s part in all of this is keeping the business in fresh supply of nubile young ladies.

    Keeg and his biker pals wind up getting into a bit of a nasty scrape with Romko (Chris Robinson), an artist who specializes in drawing bikers for some reason. Keeg and his pals hunt him down and cut him up, after which Romko winds up being nursed back to health by his lovely neighbor, Lea (Melody Patterson), completely unaware that she’s got ties to Keeg herself. There’s a catch though – while she poses for him, in her birthday suit of course, so that he can sketch her, Kleeg and company ransack his apartment! This doesn’t stop Romko from falling in love with Lea, and she with him, tension between he and Kleeg’s gang start to run even higher, just as Kleeg is about to kidnap his latest victim…

    It’s kind of weird seeing Kasem show up in this decidedly sleazy little piece of biker trash/exploitation, but yep, there he is, there’s no covering up that instantly identifiable voice! His role is a supporting one (actually it’s less than that and more of a quick cameo), however, and it’s really Bruce Dern who does most of the heavy lifting in the film. As Kleeg, he’s a lot of fun to watch, his performance dialed all the way up to eleven in almost every scene he’s in. It isn’t that he overacts, it’s more that he’s just really, really enthusiastic about the role, giving it his all and really making Kleeg a force to be reckoned with. Mary Ayres is just fine as his biker mama tagalong, offering up a fine performance and looking great as well.

    As to the good guys, well, Chris Robinson isn’t the world’s most enthusiastic hero but his performance is good enough, if never amazing. He lacks the intensity to go toe to toe with Dern and really hold his own in that regard. Melody Patterson is pretty decent as the love interest, she’s beautiful and charming and not bad at all as an actress.

    The movie is paced pretty well, opening with a scene right off the bat where we know in no uncertain terms that Kleeg and company are bad dudes as they rough up an unlucky victim at a restaurant, and it goes from there. The requisite padding scenes of bikers driving around are included here as well, but they don’t dominate the film like they do with some other entries in the genre. Overall, there’s enough violence, sleaze, action and crazy characters in this on to keep it entertaining.

    The Cycle Savages – Blu-ray Review:

    Scorpion Releasing brings The Cycle Savages to Blu-ray taking up just over 21GBs of space on a 25GB disc featuring an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer properly framed at 1.78.1 widescreen and looking quite nice. There’s a little bit of minor print damage here and there but nothing distracting. The film’s natural grain is left intact, there’s no obvious noise reduction here. Compression artifacts aren’t a problem and colors are reproduced nicely.

    The 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track is solid enough and it gets the job done without any real issues. Dialogue is clear, clear and balanced and the score sounds fine, if a tad flat in spots. Optional subtitles are provided in English. good enough even if it never sounds amazing. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.

    The main extra on the disc is a ten-minute interview with actress Maray Ayres where she speaks about auditioning for and landing the role of Sandy, where she was at professionally and personally at the time this movie was made, being frightened of having to ride on the back of the bikes in a few sequences and working with Bruce Dern, Casey Kasem and Melody Patterson. Interestingly enough, this interview includes clips from the movie that were trimmed from the feature version (mild stuff, but sexualizing Sandy’s character a bit more).

    Rounding out the extras are a trailer for the feature, bonus trailers for a few other Scorpion Releasing properties (Angel Unchained, Blind Rage, Trick Baby, Body And Soul, Who’ll Stop The Rain), menus and chapter selection.

    The Cycle Savages – The Final Word Review:

    The Cycle Savages is pretty sleazy stuff and worth seeing for Bruce Dern’s over-the-top performance alone. Scorpion’s Blu-ray release is light on extras but the interview is interesting enough and the presentation is pretty nice. Easily recommended to those with a taste for vintage biker trash films!

    Click on the images below for full sized Cycle Savages Blu-ray screen caps!