Supercross

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You know the drill: Guys named “Trip” and “Rowdy.” Slo-mo close-ups of chicks in bikini tops. Weird jargon like “keep it torque-y” and “you chopped your nuts.” Gallons and gallons of Mountain Dew. And wheelies — tons of wheelies. That’s right, it’s time for yet another entry in that most-dreaded of genres: The XXXTREME Sports Movie.

To be fair, Supercross isn’t any better or worse than any other boys-with-toys sports movie to come down the pike in recent years. The dirt-bike epic is what it is, and occupies the screen so timidly, it’s a wonder the film didn’t just skip the theater altogether and premiere directly on ESPN2. Packed with bitchin’ bikes, boring bar brawls and bad dialogue, it’s a standard-issue wish-fulfillment fantasy for 13-year-olds or any other guy whose brain hasn’t developed past that stage.

Our heroes are the bickering Carlyle brothers, the levelheaded K.C. (Steve Howey) and the hotheaded Trip (Mike Vogel). Living in a shack and cleaning pools, they sure don’t seem like two dudes “living life on the edge,” as the voice-over insists, but before long we learn their true talent: launching bikes off dirt ramps and hilly tracks. K.C.’s skills and nice-guy demeanor have earned him a place on a well-sponsored but arrogant motorcross team, while Trip continues to undermine his potential with his goofball freestyle antics. It all culminates in a showdown at (surprise!) the Supercross finals in Las Vegas, an event that just happens to be sponsored by the movie’s co-producers, Clear Channel Motor Sports.

Howey makes for a dull star; he looks and acts a little like a Chasing Amy-era Ben Affleck, and that’s not a good thing. Vogel makes a stronger impression — it’d be hard not to — in the more flamboyant part. Both spend plenty of time shirtless, whether they’re wrestling with each other or fixing motorcycle engines; let it not be said that this movie doesn’t provide equal-opportunity ogling. But the real entertainment value may come from watching Revenge of the Nerds’ dorky Robert Carradine play the bad-guy race promoter Clay, or Terminator 2’s evil cyborg Robert Patrick play the nice-guy father figure Earl. When Earl leans over and gives Trip a big, unironic bear hug, you’re not sure if it’s a tender moment, a joke or an unexpected detour into horror-flick territory. For all the would-be thrilling action on the track, it’s the only suspenseful moment in the movie.

Michael Hastings writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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