This unashamed panegyric to bikerdom is a surprisingly smooth, if utterly predictable action picture.
Tough biker Bone (Andrew Divoff) and his burly buddy Bear (Bubba Baker) are rousted from their South Dakota haunts to aid their ageing friend Ironbutt Garrott (James Gammon) and his wife Melanie (Carolyn Gendron), who are living in the South Carolina marshlands. Ironbutt has been shot off his
motorcycle by Bubba (B.J. Davis), as part of an increasingly violent plot devised by Blue (Tracy Sebastian) to win the respect of his father, local businessman and town powerbroker Calvin Hogg (Paul Gleason). Calvin wants Ironbutt's marshy homestead so he can drain it and plant soybeans, and plans
to foreclose on Ironbutt's unpaid $8,000 back-tax bill. Upsetting the locals--especially Sheriff Tom (Arlen Dean Snyder), who usually does Calvin's bidding--with their loud motorcycles and wild clothes, Bone and Bear plan a run to raise the money for Ironbutt. Bone also has a run-in with Red
(Arnie Cox)--the sadistic local cafe owner and another of Blue's thugs--who mistreats his waitress/daughter Michelle (Dedee Pfeiffer), whom he crippled as a child when she tried to save her mother from one of his drunken tantrums.
Blue's numerous attacks on the bikers fail, and the town is slowly won over by Bone, including the love-struck Michelle, and even the initially terrified local biddies Hattie (Marlene Cameron) and Ada (Virginia Light). Led by Sprocket (Wayne Nardella), the gala run brings in hundreds of area
bikers for a peaceful celebration. In desperation, Blue kidnaps Bear. Bone beats up Bubba and forces Red to flee town. The bikers and the sheriff, who has finally sided with Bone against Blue's violence, show up as Bone beats Blue senseless but refuses to kill him. Calvin is appalled by his son's
deeds, and they tearfully reconcile. Bone--fully cured of the wild, wandering lifestyle caused by his murder of the drunk driver who, years earlier, ran down his wife and child--heads back to the festivities and plans to build a house in the marshes with Michelle.
Filmmakers Fred and Beverly Sebastian (she produces, he directs and photographs, they both write) are Florida-based independents who have churned out some fairly grisly product, notably the violent GATOR BAIT movies (1976, 1988). They've swerved 180 degrees for RUNNING COOL, dedicated to "all
the bikers of Florida, who made this film possible," and seem determined to redeem the public image of motorcycle gangs. Bone, Bear, Ironbutt and the rest come off like a troop of bizarrely dressed boy scouts, charming and helpful to old (and young) ladies, children, and animals; they defend
underdogs like battered Michelle and even obey the speed laws. The bikers' run is like a Sunday School picnic, with the most down-and-dirty event of the day the muddy-pig-wrestling contest.
RUNNING COOL is entertaining, if overlong, stuff. The script is less risible than one might expect, though it bogs down in niceness in the middle, to allow Bone and Michelle to fall in love and win over the town. The violence is downplayed and the film is technically better than anything the
Sebastians have done previously. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: NR
- Review: This unashamed panegyric to bikerdom is a surprisingly smooth, if utterly predictable action picture. Tough biker Bone (Andrew Divoff) and his burly buddy Bear (Bubba Baker) are rousted from their South Dakota haunts to aid their ageing friend Ironbutt… (more)