I Saw A Film!
We had the rebel bunch of scary misfits platoon with The Dirty Dozen (1967) so it seems only fitting that while the Vietnam War was hitting the wall that we amp our fans up with this lowbrow tale of the US military deciding to use a handful of biker louts to do some dirty work and get an American Diplomat back out of Chinese hands (the Chinese understood here as the puppet masters of the Vietnam conflict, and not a mistake in national identity, thank you!). The issue is, of course, that it’s such malarkey one can barely keep from guffawing from embarrassed cringing. The bikers arrive like they’re in Barstow, their tattered colors, and jean jackets, headbands, and various bearded aspects. The main recognizable character is played by William Smith who aside from doing tons of television, did a biker film that seems like a prequel to this one just the year before. At any rate this film goes just as you might expect with lots of ass, grass, and fuzzy guitar music grooves. They’re meant to be like a hell’s angels type of gang so they’re extra obnoxious and full-on racist most of the time, however, since some of them had already done a tour they know some ladies and suddenly the morality kicks in as well. Turns out our deadly bikers might be harboring a few sweet-hearts.
So they load up on some small dirt bikes that get outfitted with plating and guns and such, and go barrel-assing into the enemy camp where all manner of gas bombs explode and extras run around taking bullets. But since it’s hard to much care about a gang of bikers in a film called “The Losers”, I mean, we’re anticipating disaster, and we pretty much get it. The diplomat they’re meant to rescue is none-too-happy to see them, and this kicks off yet another string of angsty friction. I won’t tell you how it ends, not because I don’t want to ruin it for you, but because I honestly don’t recall. It somehow slipped my mind how it all wound up. Everyone gets badly beat up and the only sympathetic character is the lady dumped by the Captain, and then “rescued” by one of the titular Losers.
I always find myself struggling to enjoy a film so loaded with unlikable boneheads, and so much of the Vietnam experience was sadly a boneheaded affair to say the least. They did at least remove the enemy to Red China, but I kind of feel like the average lout this film was aimed at would be happy to just use the derogatory slang the players do in the film for all East Asians. I’m not sure Rambo helps this along or not, but by the 80s we certainly could at least humanize to some degree the pattern of “enemy hate”. On the internet, any time a picture of Jane Fonda pops up, even if it’s Barbarella, the community will explode with Hanoi Jane, as if each armchair player (and players they be) had a stake in the virtually alien disaster of that ancient botched statescraft–as if we might manage to draw up a good “sides” argument for the Thirty Years War too boot.
This monstrosity, a kind of biker/nam flick I’m pleased I’ve seen no more of, runs freebies on Prime in USA. Enjoy the amazingly romantic, and sweetly sung theme music that is utterly incongruous with the brutality of the film.