The movie sets its gritty, biker-chic tone right off the bat in an opening credit sequence of motorcycles cruising along suburban roads at night. The revving of engines and the silhouettes of riders on their bikes signal that a reckoning is coming. Revenge Ride has no aspiration to be a nice, safe film, but rather an uncomfortable, forceful essay on honor, respect, morality, and love.
Director Melanie Aitkenhead zeroes in on this ambition with brutal violence and characters whose motivations are, for the most part, authentic. The hand-held camerawork supports the realistic and unflinching atmosphere that Aitkenhead strives to achieve.
“…has more depth than a standard genre exercise…”
The acting in Revenge Ride is uniformly excellent. Swan plays Maggie’s crisis of conscience easily and without affectation. Hers is a natural and underplayed performance that is appropriate for the stark material. As Trigga, McIntosh has a commanding yet motherly presence that makes it easy to see why the other women in Dark Moon look to her as their leader. These women are her family, and she feels justified in defending them against the crimes of men using whatever means necessary. The women are the characters leading the story, so Brian is essentially used as the sensitive voice of reason. But Boneta is effective in the role, even if some of the dialogue he’s given leans toward schmaltz. I counted more than one “I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
It would be easy to classify Revenge Ride as merely another revenge porn fantasy along the lines of I Spit On Your Grave, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. With its attack, counterattack structure, the film has more in common with a war movie. Plus, it has more depth than a standard genre exercise with its notions of family and sisterhood.
In 2020, the world is still a harsh and unfair place for women in many ways. Navigating it is a lot more manageable when someone has your back. Revenge Ride and the ladies of Dark Moon are here to ensure that no deed against one of their sisters goes unpunished.
"…a hyper-stylized and hard rock exercise in violent radical feminism."