Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Hard Ride" Starts a New Western Cycle

Cleveland Press September 3, 1971

A returning war veteran returns to see to the burial of his buddy, finds that he has inherited his buddy's favorite steed.

He finds that his dead friend's home town is divided into enemy camps and he becomes close to the friend's girl who is currently working in a tavern.

What must have been the script for an old post-Civil War western has been resurrected as a motorcycle gang drama.

What the war hero inherits is not a horse but a motorcycle. Substitute garage for livery stable and you're right there in the 1970's with backflashes of fighting in Vietnam instead of along the Mason-Dixon line.

Everyone's busy trying to take the bike away from the hero and the conflict climaxes in a bloody confrontation between the two gangs.

"The Hard Ride" was the first of the motorcycle gang movies released after American International, the releasing company, announced a policy of no more R or X-rated movies. This one carries a GP rating -- all ages, parental guidance suggested.

There is still plenty of violence, mayhem and sex. The only differences between this movie and its predecessors are that it doesn't allow the sadistic scenes to run as long and the hero and heroine to go swimming in their underwear instead of in the buff.

A loud folk-rock soundtrack competes with the roar of motorcycles for attention.