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By Merle Bertrand | December 20, 2000

The villain in “Steal Wheels” goes by the subtle name “Snake.” That alone should be a tip-off as to how brutally bad this “Easy Riders” wannabe truly is. Executive Producer Gregg Giacobbe plays the hero; vigilante biker with a heart of gold Gion Bodine. That, too, should throw up red warning flags quicker than shouting “Wussie!” at a Hell’s Angels member will get you pounded into pulp. Bodine oh-so-creatively calls the vigilante biker gang he forms — I wish I was making this up — “The Revengers.” Someone out there should avenge the thousands of feet of perfectly good motion picture film that director Daniel Weber wasted on this really, really bad movie.
Gion is a struggling computer nerd by day who’s been passed up yet again for promotion at his computer sales and service job because of his “biker image.” (A stretch as well as a continual source of unintentional amusement. With his flowing dark hair and a beard, the otherwise scrubbed Giacobbe looks more like a member of the Bee Gees than he does a biker.) He takes some comfort tooling around on his flashy yellow Harley and derives even more in the arms of his beautiful fiancee Marie (Lisa Smith). Still, missing out on the promotion means the couple must remain in the trashy shack owned by Gion’s ne’er do well dad Trace (Tim Stone).
Trace, who supplements his drug dealing income by stealing motorcycle parts and selling them on the black market, runs with a rough crowd, including the skinny slimebag Snake (Roger “Hype” Loper). In one of the most thoroughly botched scenes in motion picture history, Gion argues with his dad and sets off on a ride, only to return and discover that Snake has raped and killed his wife. This scene is so horribly miscut, it took me several minutes to realize that this, in fact, is what had occurred.
Assisted by Trace, who’s abruptly and for no apparent reason now a temporary good guy, Gion sets out after Snake to avenge Marie’s death. Along the way, he meets up with a sympathetic but buffoonish biker gang, turns them into “The Revengers,” and generally makes the world safe for kittens, cute babies and democracy.
Oh, my. The litany of faults here would take longer to type than this film’s painful 88 minutes. Heading up that list, however, would be a laughable script, performances so wooden, they make Al Gore look as if he’s been mainlining Jolt Cola, a muddier than the Mississippi audio track, an annoying, nearly constant generic rock soundtrack, and a moronic, totally unnecessary narration.
And that’s just in the first five minutes.
“Steal Wheels” is the kind of cinematic travesty where gratuitously pawing at a beautiful topless woman on a motorcycle constitutes a “love scene,” where silly grown men ogling naked and bored “exotic” dancers in a topless bar passes as titillation, and where those same silly grown men firing toy guns and dodging blatantly obvious squib sparks accompanied by a bad “Lynard Skynard” clone pretends to be an “action” scene. This nonsense serves exactly one purpose: as a primer for how NOT to make an independent feature film.

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