Mar 24, 2021
By Austin Trunick
Teenage Cru Jones (Bill Allen) is the baddest kid in his dusty little town. When a slimy bicycle magnate makes his hometown in the site of the BMX Super Bowl with the construction of “Helltrack,” he never counted on one of the sport’s gnarliest riders rising from the local bike scene.
Rad (1986) is one of the Eighties-est movies you’ll come across. From its lingo to its soundtrack, Rad is very much a product of an exact period of time, which no doubt feeling dated within a few months of its release. It’s also a bit of kitschy fun for anyone who remembers those days, and a sentimental favorite for many who grew up on it – and were no doubt inspired to ask their parents for a BMX bike for their next birthday following their discovery of the VHS at their local rental shop.
In Rad, BMXing isn’t just a mode of transportation and our hero’s method of achieving his dreams, but something you can pretty much do anywhere – as demonstrated in the movie’s goofiest scene, in which Cru and the lady biker of his dreams (jailbird Lori Loughlin) have a romantic BMX dance scene while most of the town watches. (The scene is full of glorious, slow motion bike tricks, in which Loughlin’s character is clearly played by a male stuntman.) If something that ridiculous-sounding makes you smile, Rad is probably for you. If you’re only looking for dated fashion, slang, motivational montages set to gung-ho rock songs, and reliable ‘80s tropes like plucky youth sticking it to greedy old businessmen, there are more infectious choices out there, like Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Still, Rad is fun, and no one says you can’t have too many of these sort of movies.
Rad was recently restored to 4K, making all of the sun-kissed BMX action really pop, and the music sounds really great in this edition. The main bonus feature is a lengthy, Zoom-style panel with cast members Bill Allen, Talia Shire, and Bart Conner, hosted by Lonely Island member (and MacGruber director) Jorma Taccone. The latter is clearly a Rad super-fan of the highest order, which really contributes a fun, light tone to the Q&A, which otherwise would have been pretty dry. It’s all housed in a slick-looking, heavy-duty steelbook that fans of the film will probably want on their shelves.