Nicole Kidman, one of Hollywood’s finest talents today, makes her film debut in her homeland of Australia with this family adventure film capitalizing on BMX biking.
P.J. and Goose are local BMX riders in the city of Manly. They have longed to have their own BMX track because they are always not allowed to ride their bikes at places like the plaza or the pier. They accidentally meet Judy, a girl who soon becomes their friend who is quite a rider herself. However, this trio’s fate is soon to change when they unwittingly find themselves in something major.
When a band of robbers have stashed a carton full of stolen walkie-talkies, the trio of riders accidentally have their hands on it. With the chance to make enough money to get their track, they begin to sell the walkie-talkies. However, they soon contend with not only robbers Whitey and Moustache, but the police as well due to the frequencies getting completely mixed up. Soon, the kids find themselves in hot water, but learning they are also wanted by the robbers, they decide to do what’s right and stop the robbers.
Ozploitation, or Australian exploitation, was going at full speed when one of its legendary auteurs, Brian Trenchard-Smith, decided to make a family friendly film but still bring a bit of the daring stunts with this film, capitalizing on the BMX trend a full three years before American audiences were introduced to perhaps the greatest 80’s BMX film made, Rad. Using an earlier screenplay by Russell Hagg, Patrick Edgeworth’s script may seem a little unexpected with the use of walkie-talkies as the object the robbers are after, but it all seems to be a back burner to the debut of one of Hollywood’s top actresses today.
Nicole Kidman makes her film debut as BMX rider Judy, who is introduced as a lowly supermarket clerk who lost her job because of a pudgy character simply known as “The Creep”. However, she proves herself to be the Nancy Drew along with “Hardy Boys” P.J. and Goose. P.J. acts like the brains of the operation while Goose is the witty one of the trio with his constant comebacks and spirit. There is a brief love triangle of sorts as both of the boys seem to like Judy. However, after an attempt from Goose to kiss Judy results in Judy letting them both down gently as she only sees them as friends, something the boys eventually respect.
The comic relief of the film not only comes with this trio, but robbers Whitey and Moustache, played by David Argue and John Ley, are quite the bumbling duo. While they have a boss, played by veteran Bryan Marshall, these two pull antics in their quest to get their stash back that are funny to watch. In one hilarious chase scene, P.J. and Goose use a water slide to escape from the duo and Moustache ends up putting himself in a situation that not even he expected. However, the real fun comes in the end when the trio gathers all the local kids to help take down the robbers once and for all.
BMX Bandits is a fun family friend adventure with some pretty daring stunts involving BMX and some goofy comedy from the robbers. Who would’ve thought that one of the stars of the film would be a top actress in Hollywood today?
WFG RATING: B-
A Nilsen Premiere production. Director: Brian-Trenchard Smith. Producers: Tom Broadbridge and Paul F. Davies. Writers: Patrick Edgeworth and Russell Hagg. Cinematography: John Seale. Editing: Alan Lake.
Cast: David Argue, John Ley, Nicole Kidman, Angelo D’Angelo, James Lugton, Bryan Marshall, Brian Sloman.