The Sidehackers

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"HARD RIDERS! Mounted on Burning Steel! ... with only their leathers between THEM and HELL!"
  • M
  • 1969
  • 1 hr 22 min
  • 1.8  (2,074)

The Sidehackers is a 1969 biker movie that follows J.C. (Ross Hagen), a champion motorcycle racer who becomes blinded by jealousy and rage when he suspects that his girlfriend Rhiannon (Diane McBain) is having an affair with his best friend Rommel (Michael Pataki). As J.C. spirals into a violent and vengeful state, he enlists a gang of sidehack riders to help him settle the score.

The film opens with a thrilling race between J.C. and Rommel, who are neck and neck as they navigate a treacherous track. The two men are competitive but friendly until J.C. spots Rhiannon in the stands, cheering for Rommel. Suddenly, J.C.'s concentration falters and he loses the race, much to his frustration. When Rhiannon comes down to the track to congratulate Rommel, J.C. confronts her and accuses her of cheating on him. Rhiannon denies the accusations, but J.C. is consumed by jealousy and rage.

As J.C.'s mental state deteriorates, he becomes increasingly violent towards Rhiannon, who is torn between her loyalty to J.C. and her growing attraction to Rommel. J.C. begins to recruit a gang of sidehack riders, who are like the glue that binds his twisted psyche together. Together, they engage in a series of dangerous stunts and violent acts, including a brutal attack on Rommel's girlfriend, which leaves her permanently scarred.

In one of the film's most famous scenes, J.C. challenges Rommel to a sidehack race, in which the driver and a passenger ride in a two-person vehicle that is attached to the side of a motorcycle. The race is filled with death-defying jumps and near-collisions, culminating in a fiery crash that leaves J.C. and his sidehack partner severely injured.

The Sidehackers is a classic exploitation film that revels in its low-budget aesthetic and sensationalistic subject matter. The film was directed by Gus Trikonis, who had previously worked as a choreographer and stunt coordinator for Elvis Presley movies. Trikonis brings a sense of showmanship and spectacle to the film's action sequences, which are rough-edged but undeniably thrilling.

The performances in The Sidehackers are a mix of wooden and over-the-top, with Ross Hagen's J.C. being the standout. Hagen, who also co-wrote the screenplay, imbues J.C. with a dangerous charisma that is both captivating and repulsive. Diane McBain holds her own as Rhiannon, bringing a feisty independence to a character that could have been reduced to a damsel in distress. Michael Pataki, meanwhile, plays Rommel as a suave ladies' man with a dark streak.

At its core, The Sidehackers is a morality play about the dangers of jealousy and revenge. J.C.'s obsession with Rhiannon leads him down a path of destruction that ultimately consumes him. The film's violent climax is both cathartic and unsettling, leaving the audience to ponder the consequences of unchecked anger.

The Sidehackers is not a great film, but it is an entertaining one. It's a relic of a bygone era, when low-budget exploitation movies ruled drive-in theaters and grindhouse cinemas. The film's rough edges and unpolished style are part of its charm, and its themes of love, jealousy, and revenge are as relevant today as they were in 1969. If you're in the mood for a cheesy, action-packed biker movie, The Sidehackers is definitely worth a watch.

The Sidehackers
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 22 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    1.8  (2,074)