Sometimes movies can surprise you. For all intents and purposes, Wild Hogs should have annoyed me to no end, but instead I found myself actually enjoying the ride (I don’t mean that as a pun, but it works either way) the film took you on. While I had only set out to review this title because my family wanted to see it, in the end I walked away from a film that I can safely say I enjoyed watching.
Wild Hogs follows the story of four middle-aged men who are itching to break up the monotony of their lives and put some adventure back into it. Despite already riding motorcycles with one another regularly with the gang name of “Wild Hogs”, the four eventually break out and go onto a cross country road trip, planning to camp and rough it along the way. Along the way they meet a giddy cop and eventually fall upon a gang of bikers, the Del Fuegos, that cause nothing but trouble for them for the duration of the film. The film culminates in a rousing showdown in the town of Madrid, where our Wild Hogs show the Del Fuegos that they really are as old as they look.
The film wastes no time in setting up the characters we’re about to spend an hour and forty minutes with and before long we’re already on the road. The main problem with how the film is told, however, is that while we’re led to believe these guys have been friends forever, aside from Travolta and Allen’s characters who attended college together, we have no idea how they ended up in a small four-man biker gang with Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy. I’m sure they could have all met at a Harley Davidson dealership on the same day, but we’re never told how these four guys came together. Still, all four of them have great chemistry with one another, although often the film seems to pair them in groups, with Allen and Travolta and Lawrence and Macy in pairs for a lot of the scenes.
As I said before, I definitely enjoyed watching the film, but once they met up with the Del Fuegos gang, I was quickly feeling like the film was going somewhere else and neither I nor the film knew where to take it. In the end we end up with some ludicrous biker gang fight in an isolated town named Madrid and I’ve no idea who the hell came up with that idea because it doesn’t gel with the rest of the film. The idea of four middle-aged men going on a cross country road trip as friends is a concept I can wrap my head around, but when you start throwing in little biker war tiffs I have to question the reality of it all. Yes, films are about escaping reality but when it starts off grounded in reality and then travels off into a nonsensical Saturday Night Live skit, I start getting bored with it all.
Granted the film needed a conflict for the guys to face (aside from the excited cop who sadly didn’t make a third appearance—John C. McGinley’s performance of this cop is truly a highlight of the film), but there has to have been something else to throw into the mix and not simply make such a stupid story as the film devolved into. But, I digress; only so much can be done with these type of films and for what it’s worth the film is fun to watch once.
The writing in the film is akin to that of a family friendly comedy that is peppered with some sexual humor as well as excessive use of the phrase “asshole” which I lost count of how many times it popped out of the characters mouths. It wasn’t overly obnoxious, but it was kind of odd to see a film with Tim Allen in it where he was allowed to make jokes that had some salty language in them. On top of the language there is the aforementioned John C. McGinely character as well as an odd cameo by Kyle Gass as a singer at the Madrid Chili Festival. For those who don’t know who Gass is, he’s the other half of the band “Tenacious D” (the other half is Jack Black) and it was cool to see him something non-“D” related, but his strange singing really kind of makes no sense in the grand scheme of things in the film.
Another curious thing to mention about the film is quite a few lines of dialogue that appeared in the trailers didn’t even pop up in the film (nor in the deleted scenes on the DVD). One of the lines that often made audiences in the theater laugh when I saw the trailer was Martin Lawrence’s delivery of the line “Do tell” after William H. Macy says the only jokes he can think of are “black jokes.” A lot of the dialogue that is missing from the trailers is replaced by something else in the film, which tells me quite a lot of the films lines were improved or changed by the actors.
In the end the film is definitely worth a Rental, but owning it is a whole other matter. While the first half of the film is easily re-watchable, the later half as soon as they arrive in Madrid is nonsensical and can easily be skipped.
Arriving in a single disc DVD case with a foil reflective cardboard slip, the DVD art mirrors the cover while the accompanying insert with scene selections and bonus features repeats the images on the back art. Also included in the DVD case is a 2007 Harley Davidson Motorcycle advertisement as well as a few coupons for Cottman Transmission. Menus are animated and easy to navigate.
Video for this release is crystal clear looking and I didn’t notice a bit of artifacting or compression. On top of that the films 5.1 track took decent use of the surround during the biker clubs explosion as well as the sound of the bikes roaring on the screen. French and Spanish language tracks are included along with French and Spanish subtitles.
A quick making-of documentary adorns the disc as well as a short bit on “How to Get Your Wife to Let You Buy a Motorcycle” which really doesn’t tell the viewer much—it mostly just gives the view false hope that he’ll actually get a motorcycle someday. Deleted scenes are include that are really just alternate takes and the “alternate ending” I actually enjoyed more than the one in the film. This alternate ending has John C. McGinley’s character returning after he sees the guys speed past him. Perhaps it’s just because I’m a fan of McGinely from Scrubs, but I would’ve liked the film to go out on a note with him…although it wouldn’t make sense, as I don’t think cops move around states as much as his character seemed to. Oh well.
Very few outtakes are included which makes absolutely no freakin’ sense. The best outtakes are inside the “Making of” and the ones in this short clip show are hard to hear, not all that funny and altogether useless. Where’s the adlibbing that we heard so much about? I want to see more of that—it’s got two stand up comedians and two actors who have great improvisational ability, so where’s the funny stuff? Oh well.
Finally we have a commentary by director Walt Becker and writer Brad Copeland. The track is eventful for the majority of the movie and doesn’t ever get too dry. It’s peppered with some interesting behind-the-scenes information, but for a film with four actors in it that are really the focus of it…why there isn’t a commentary track with just the four of them on it, I don’t know. Seems like a lost opportunity.
Overall the DVD can be watched in the same rental session as the film. It’s short, not a whole of extras to view and you can feel better that you didn’t blow a lot of money on the DVD full price. Maybe pick it up when it’s used or super cheap, but for now this moderately entertaining film won’t be getting repeat viewings and as such it comes tagged as a Rental only.