• Rad (Mill Creek Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: March 16th, 2021.
    Director: Hal Needham
    Cast: Bart Conner, Lori Loughlin, Bill Allen, Talia Shire, Ray Walston, Alife Wise, Jack Weston
    Year: 1986
    Purchase From Amazon

    Rad – Movie Review:

    By Alison and Ian Jane

    Cru (Bill Allen) and his BMX-racing buddies are the bigshots of their high school and town. They can even make delivering newspapers look cool. When the big race – Helltrack - is coming to town, a bunch of the local kids decide to try out for it. Any amateur racers that qualify get $10,000 and a chance at $100,000, a Corvette and the opportunity to race against the professionals in the teenage-BMX world. The leader of that world is Bart Taylor (Bart Conner), who bears a striking resemblance to Johnny - the leader of Cobra Kai in The Karate Kid (…which reminds me I need to watch Cobra Kai Season 2). Released two years after The Karate Kid, the similarities don’t stop there! Bart and his friends are, of course, the “bad” guys, under the management of Duke Best (Jack Weston). Duke is just as mean-spirited and intent on his team winning (even if goofier) as that “Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy” sensai in The Karate Kid. Cru hooks up with the female-BMX champ, Christian (Lori Loughlin), and with her support, he decides to attempt to qualify for Helltrack, which turns into a Cobra Kai/Miyagi-do kind of battle for the top spot.

    Supporting actors in this one include… Ray Walston as a nerdy smart aleck, who rides around town on a BMX bike (carrying coffee, is the running joke), trying to not get run over by Cru and his newspaper crew… Talia Shire as Cru’s mom (try not to yell out “ADRIAN!” every time she’s on screen)… H.B. Haggerty as an ineffective but lovable motorcycle cop… Laura Jacoby as Cru’s foul-mouthed ten-year-old sister (mentioned only because Jacobys were EVERYWHERE in the 80s and they’re fun to spot)… and Marta Kober as Cru’s friend Becky (mentioned only because she was in Friday the 13th II and high five for that!). The film was directed by Hal Needham, the director of Smokey and the Bandit and Body Slam, and stuntman for countless films through the 60s and 70s.

    More Karate Kid comparisons… the song playing throughout the film whenever anything inspiring was happening, “Thunder in Your Heart,” was a total clone of “You’re the Best Around.” What that one did for me wanting to do karate, this one did for making me want to be a BMX racer. Lots of sappy montages to tug at your heartstrings and of course a PG-rated romance between Cru and Christian - who had been dating (but is now tired of) Bart… OH SNAP! Just like Johnny and Ali in Karate Kid. Rad is basically The Karate Kid on BMX bikes.

    That said, it’s nothing but fun from start to finish. Who wouldn’t want to see The Karate Kid on bikes, after all? Total nostalgia for 80’s kids and people into it when it was released, but also entertaining for those watching it the first time, like me. One of the highlights of the film is Cru and Christian going “ass sliding,” that Cru actually refers to as such later in the film. Lori Laughlin is definitely riding her bike in the close-up and easy shots, but for the trick shots it’s very clearly a dude in a girl’s wig - and an unconvincing one at that. Of course, it adds to the humor and charm of the film. Nowadays, I bet Lori is wishing that stunt double was still available to cover her jail time…

    Rad – Blu-ray Review:

    Mill Creek brings Rad to back to Blu-ray in a standard edition after releasing a limited edition steeblook version in conjunction with Mondo. The transfer is the same, presenting them move on a 50GB disc and with the feature in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. The 1.85.1 widescreen picture looking damn near identical to the transfer that was included on the Vinegar Syndrome release (though obviously not as good as the UHD disc that was included in that package). Picture quality is excellent. Detail is strong throughout playback and the image is very clean, retaining the natural film grain you want but not showing any noticeable print damage at all. The bright, bold and brash eighties color scheme really pops and black levels are nice and deep. There are no problems with any noticeable compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction – this transfer is really good.

    The English language DTS-HD 5.1 is strong. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. The 5.1 track spreads out the score and the effects quite nicely, taking advantage of the rear channels. No problems here. The levels are nicely balanced, the dialogue always clear and easy to follow and the tracks free or any hiss or distortion. Oh, and Real Life’s ‘Send Me An Angel’ sounds awesome in lossless.

    The main extra on the disc is the forty-one-minute Rad Q&A Session that includes input from writer Sam Bernard alongside actors Bill Allen, Talia Shire and Bart Conner. It’s an interesting retrospective look back at the making of the movie. The disc also includes Against The Odds – Bill Allen On Rad, Ace In The Hole – Hal Needham in the 80s and Beak The Ice – Sam Bernard on Rad.

    The disc also includes eleven-minutes of vintage interviews with Bart Conner, Lori Loughlin and Bill Allen as well as a five-minute archival behind the scenes featurette. Also included in the extras on this disc are a music video for the song ‘Break The Ice’ (performed by John Farnham), menus and chapter selection.

    Rad – The Final Word:

    Rad is a seriously fun nostalgia trip for eighties kids and BMX fanatics! It’s derivative, sure, but it’s a ridiculously entertaining blast from the past. For those who didn’t get the OOP Vinegar Syndrome release, this is a really nice way to enjoy the film.

    Click on the images below for full-sized The Rad screen caps!