Crazy though it might sound, its Laura Jacoby as younger sister Wesley who owns the picture. She’s spunky, caring, and tons of fun. She brings an energy that her on-screen sibling fails to and absolutely enlivens the film. The late, great Ray Walston has a minor role as entrepreneur Burton. Much like Jacoby, he is having fun and makes that enjoyment translate to the audience. For her part, Lori Loughlin isn’t too bad. She’s charming, and though her character lacks an arc, the talent that would eventually lead to her stardom is apparent, even if she and Allen share all the chemistry of a wet blanket.
Now, Bart Conner plays Bart Taylor, the big name of BMXing in Rad’s world. Performance-wise he is fine, but it is his conduct during the final lap that gives the character an arc. Leading most of the way, he pauses for Cru to catch up so the two can genuinely go head-to-head. See, his teammates have been intentionally blocking and stopping Cru during the first few laps. But he never gave up. It is a nice moment, and despite being a few seconds long, it is the most development anyone has. Which again, makes for a somewhat lackluster viewing experience.
Well, that is unless you have a high tolerance for extended BMX racing and riding segments. Rad is highly devoted to its sport, so much so that there’s some trillion, or so, montages of Cru and his pals performing tricks or riding about town. Heck, there is even a pointless dance number, just to show off BMX dancing. Yes, I am serious. Yes, it is one of the most fondly remembered (aka ridiculed) and goofy moments of the entire movie.
“…lovingly films the BMX riders, so, if you don’t mind cheese and love bikes, you’ll get a lot out of the movie.”
In terms of directing, Rad is just below average but not bad. Immediately after the BMX dancing, Cru is at the diner working. Is it the same day? The next day? It is never made clear, and that is just one example of the awkward time jumps and edits throughout. But again, Needham lovingly films the BMX riders, so, if you don’t mind cheese and love bikes, you’ll get a lot out of the movie.
But, what of the 4K restoration? Well, Vinegar Syndrome has done a bang-up job here. While a few scenes still have some very noticeable grain, Rad looks and sounds excellent. The colors are vibrant, popping off the screen. The audio is just as good, with the very 1980s soundtrack sounding smooth and clean. If you are a fan, then the love and care Vinegar Syndrome put into this release makes a must buy.
For anyone else, Rad is a fun, if dumb, one time watch.
"…if you are a fan, then the love and care Vinegar Syndrome put into this release makes a must buy."