Hippo Manchester
August 25, 2005

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Supercross (PG-13)
by Amy Diaz

Two brothers dream of a life on the professional motorbike circuit in Supercross, a movie that answers the question “what ever happened to Robert Patrick?”

Clearly neither the sudden rush of success that comes with something like Terminator 2: Judgment Day nor the geek fame that comes with a couple of seasons of The X-Files ensures career longevity. Add to Patrick’s list of bit parts and supporting characters that would appear to be beneath him his role in Supercross. His role here is that of Earl Cole, dad of a main character’s love interest. Most memorable about his performance are (1) some truly spectacular fake facial hair (it seems to twist and bend with a life all its own; it’s mesmerizing) and (2) one of the weirdest, most unnecessary guy-to-guy hugs ever. How weird? The hug seems to take even the other actor in the scene by surprise — and he’s not a good enough actor to fake that. How unnecessary? The movie actually comes to a stop, like a car slamming on the brakes to avoid hitting a duckling, while Patrick and Mike Vogel, the actor perhaps best known for his role as the romantic conquest of one of the leads of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, exchange an incredibly awkward hug. It’s so jarring it actually shakes you out of the half-doze into which the movie’s lameness lulls you.

That hug, however, is damn near all Patrick gets to do in this movie. Even other semi-celebrities — Aaron Carter (little brother to a Backstreet Boy), Sophia Bush (of One Tree Hill) and Robert Carradine (half-brother of David) — take a back seat to Vogel and Steve Howey (best known for his role on Reba), the captains steering this rudderless ship in concentric circles of  stupid.

KC Carlyle (Howey) and his younger brother Trip (Vogel) live together in an apartment in sunbaked Palmdale (a desert north of the San Fernando Valley in Southern California). For money, they clean pools. For fun, they race their dirt bikes around the desert, kicking up choking clouds of dust and flying off hilltops. Though they have little money to spare, they spend what they have fixing up their bikes in hopes of one day winning races and making a career of the motocross circuit.

Naturally, neither brother has quite what it takes — KC is too cautious and Trip is too risky. Trip causes both boys to wipe out in one race, but not before the factory team of a motorcycle company sees them ride. After Trip picks a fight with the team’s star, they ask KC to ride with them, for the express purpose of blocking for the team star. This means KC can taste the big time but he won’t be allowed to win. Even though this offers financial security, can KC bring himself to keep this position and give up his dreams of victory? Or will he follow his brother and take the privateer (racer without a team) route?

Or, hey, maybe they could form a gang and challenge other gangs, one of which would set up the lead gang for murder … wait, no, that was Biker Boyz.

Supercross is comically bad — the acting makes Deuce Bigalow look like Hamlet; the camera work and sound resemble a home movie, the soundtrack sounds like Nickelback factory seconds, the dialog sounds like it is being read off cue cards representing the first draft of the text written on the spot. It’s shocking that with so many cable movie stations this actually made it to the theater and didn’t wind up on Starz! Action or Spike late-night. That it ever saw the inside of a theater is a really testament to both the sad state of mainstream film and, who knows, perhaps the last little bit of Robert Patrick screen power.