Evel Knievel

  • 2004
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Action, Biography

Fans of daredevil Evel Knieval (George Eads, of TV's CSI: Las Vegas) looking for a puff piece about their death-defying hero need look no further than this by-the-numbers TV biopic directed by John Badham. Starting with Knievel’s disastrous 1968 jump over the fountains at Las Vegas’s Caesar’s Palace, this chronicle skips back and forth in time....read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Fans of daredevil Evel Knieval (George Eads, of TV's CSI: Las Vegas) looking for a puff piece about their death-defying hero need look no further than this by-the-numbers TV biopic directed by John Badham.

Starting with Knievel’s disastrous 1968 jump over the fountains at Las Vegas’s Caesar’s Palace, this chronicle skips back and forth in time. A hellion as a youngster, Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel (George Eads) channels his stubborn streak into his livelihood as an adult. When his motorcycle lot faces bankruptcy, Evel frets about supporting his wife, Linda (Jaime Pressly) and

his kids. With the help of his trusty mechanic, Evel soups up his engine and promotes sales with a motorcycle stunt show. Starting in 1965, the acclaim of rubes feeds Evel’s ego and he quickly becomes better known for risk-taking than salesmanship. As Evel’s reputation spreads from tank towns to big cities, he replaces his wife and old friends with less savory support systems: Booze and broads. Through all of Evel’s womanizing and mood swings, Linda stands by her man, and after the Vegas stunt leaves him comatose and paralyzed, Linda picks up the pieces. Too ornery to accept his doctors’ prognosis, the fiercely determined Evel not only walks again but also rides again. Accomplishing his greatest notoriety, Evel lets his colorful past become the subject of a 1972 movie starring George Hamilton, and allows his likeness to be fashioned into an action figure. This Houdini on wheels is always facing the challenge of topping himself, but despite disastrous spills and bad press, Evel never loses his faith and keeps bouncing back until his retirement in 1980.

The blonde Eads does not a convincing daredevil make — he looks more like glamour-boy wrestler Gorgeous George. The stunt work is as thrilling as the hero-worshiping script is perfunctory; it cheers every crash without touching on Knievel’s high school athletic accomplishments, military service or

environmental crusading.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Fans of daredevil Evel Knieval (George Eads, of TV's CSI: Las Vegas) looking for a puff piece about their death-defying hero need look no further than this by-the-numbers TV biopic directed by John Badham. Starting with Knievel’s disastrous 1968 jump… (more)

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