Black Angels

Weekly Alibi

DIRECTED BY: Laurence Merrick

REVIEWED: 11-10-97

I've had this tape laying around for months, but finally watched it thanks to the endless prodding of Dana at Il Vicino. That sounds kind of dirty, but you know what I mean. This oddball biker flick concerns the rivalry between the Choppers, a (real) all-black bike gang, and Satan's Serpents, a bunch of white bikers led by the tough-but-enlightened Chainer, who insists that "any beef we have with the Choppers is about territory, not color!" But despite what you might think, the titular "Black Angels" are actually the two white (and ridiculously bogus) cops who drive aimlessly through the movie. The flick opens with a supercool extended bike chase after one of the Choppers smashes Chainer's window while he's getting it on with his ol' lady. In flashbacks during the chase, we see the troublesome Chopper telling his squeeze how he's gonna take Chainer out "because Chainer is all white! His white is pale, pale and sick--and I hate all sickness!" After proclaiming himself "a new shade of black," he instigates the chase, which comes to a jarring end when the Chopper dumps his bike while trying to jump a ravine. The problem is, after this unbelievably great first 10 minutes, the movie becomes pretty much your standard, rambly-assed chopper-opera until the last 10 minutes, when it suddenly becomes a biker version of Do the Right Thing, as the Choppers and the Serpents clash in an orgy of badly-choreographed violence. While disappointing in that it doesn't live up to its potential, Black Angelsis essential viewing for that opening sequence and a plethora of gut-wrenchingly awful songs (if I ever hear the one about "eating cigarettes" again, I'm buying a gun). (Something Weird Video)

--Scott Phillips

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