There's a growing trend within the movie industry to use motorbikes (badly) as fashion accessories in order to look cool. Let's take a look at a few that spring to mind.
Snipes and Biel pop out for a spot of vampire hunting. Now, rather than use a car (or their big van) to transport their vast array of weaponry, whilst looking inconspicuous, they opt for a couple of Buells. Why? So we can have a minute's worth of film of them zooming round the streets looking cool (backed by banging soundtrack).
Nobody will notice me carrying an arsenal of weaponry on this!
This one almost works. Carrie-Ann Moss needs to escape from the Agents with the 'Key Maker' en tow. They leap onto a passing bike transporter and jump on a nice black Ducati 996. This is all fine and makes a pleasant change from all that tearing around in oversized American saloons. What is not fine, however, is her riding. Anyone who can weave between freeway lanes into oncoming traffic should be able to open the throttle for long enough to outrun a police car. It's a 160mph bike woman! She didn't even get her knee down. I can only imagine the sports suspension suffered badly from initial crash landing off the lorry.
I'd be able to concentrate without the Key Maker's boner shoved against me.
Worst. Culprit. Ever. Okay, so Nicolas Cage goes to meet Angelina Jolie to try and convince her that she should be 'boosting' cars with him. Jolie is working in a garage at the time, before going onto her evening bar job (just so she has enough money to be able to eat). Well, excuse me Mrs Brad Pitt, if you sold the extortionately expensive MV Augusta that you subsequently roll up on you'd be able to eat for a year. That would be bad enough (after she pleads poverty), but all we see is the bike roll forward and her getting off it. For all we know the thing might not even have an engine.
Verdict: More of a fashion accessory that Jolie's Prada handbag.
Can someone lend me some cash? I'm out of gas again.
Annoying. Not annoying because the bike's used as an accessory, because it's not - it is actually ridden. What's annoying is the way it's ridden. I'll ignore the automatically morphing road/knobbly tyres and pretend that they're about to come off Pirelli's production line. They're probably being released around the same time as Triumph's patented bullet-proof bike engine and fuel tank. No, what's really annoying is the incredible riding. If Tom Cruise's film career ever dries up then he surely has a ready made one as a stunt rider. The pinnacle, the piece-de-resistance, has to be where Cruise manages a one handed rolling (and then turning) stoppie whilst shooting out the petrol tank on an oncoming car.
Verdict: The bike riding is fictional in the film, but he might as well have been on a space ship for all the resemblance to reality it bore.
Secret Agent training lesson one. Lesson two involves back flipping over the Grand Canyon.
Arnie gets cool on a Harley. After being transported to this time, Arnie pops into a biker bar, beats up some rednecks, steals some leathers and a Harley Fatboy. He spends the rest of the film riding round on it and, to be honest, it works. In this guise it suits him just as well as the shades and shotgun do. It was touch and go though, since sticking him on an RS50 with Dayglo 'Power Ranger' leathers and titanium kneesliders would have killed the film before it got going.
Verdict: Spot on.
Aprilia RS50: Not the star of Terminator 2.
Carrie-Ann Moss (again) drops into the Matrix near the power station she needs to destroy. Unfortunately for her she's on the roof of the building next door. Well, since she's spent the previous two films jumping over buildings and through walls this shouldn't be an issue. Oh well, give her a bike anyway. That way she can do a wheel spin and launch the thing off the building roof. To a banging soundtrack.
Stop worrying about the plot and look at my ass.
This film is set in 2035. That in itself is in nothing out of the ordinary. It is quite amazing though that a police officer would be able to afford such an expensive motorbike. We're talking, of course, about the 2004 model MV Augusta F4-SPR, one of only 300 made. And it's immaculate. This 21 year old 'classic' comes out just the once, as usual, to transport our heroes to a destination which could just as easily been done in a car.
Verdict: The very epitome of desperately shouting "Look at our film, it's cool!"
Why the hell didn't I bring the car? Where's my bloody iPod?
There are probably many, but the one that stands out for me, in recent memory, is the BMW R1200 in Tomorrow Never Dies. Oh god. Where to start. Just see the description for Mission Impossible 2, only add the fact that Bond is handcuffed to someone else on the bike and they're riding it together. Up stairs.
Verdict: Words fail me. Not a fashion accessory, but since the film's entire budget was covered by shamelessly plugging various manufacturers maybe Bond should have been a bouncer at a whore house in this one.
This is easy. Find me some stairs bitch.
Need to make an dramatic church entrance? Front door not good enough? Thinking about changing the stained glass windows anyway? Why not jump a chopper through them? You can charge up the aisle, do a wheelspin and then leap off the bike (whilst it somehow continues under its own throttle and balance), before it jumps in the air all by itself and kills a mutant zombie.
Verdict: Staggeringly appalling and utterly superfluous.
What's your problem? Have you seen all my guns?
Upon landing in Japan to dish out her wrath, Uma Thurman somehow manages to stumble upon a truly awful 90s style ZZR. If that wasn't bad enough, some bastard had originally ordered it in yellow. Still, not to be outdone our heroine quickly manages to find matching yellow leathers and a yellow helmet. A couple of shots of the bike before the restaurant scene are as much as we get. She does manage to retain the leathers for the huge fight scene at the restaurant, which makes all those flips and jumps even more remarkable.
Verdict: Great film, crap bike. It's a mercy it's there no longer than it is.
Who the hell signed me up for Biker Boyz?