With a new streaming service being announced what seems like every week, it’s not surprising that I now have to ask someone if they have any kind of disc player if I want them to watch something. While there are plenty of benefits to streaming, not everything is obtainable and there is just something satisfying about sliding a disc in and watching a menu pop up on screen. Lately, it feels like nostalgia is what’s selling home video releases. Childhood favorites are getting top-notch restorations encouraging consumers like me to shell out extra cash for a revisit. Sometimes it’s worth it while others fall flat. However, these releases also promote films that we might have missed. This brings us to RAD.
RAD is one of those movies I never saw or actually even heard of. Released in 1986, the film barely made a mark at the box office and was critically panned. However, not unlike Tremors, RAD came out during the VHS craze and benefited as a top rental. The home video success is no surprise watching this an adult. The film features a cast that looks like your approachable next-door neighbors without the stand-offish Hollywood gloss. The silly yet insanely catchy eighties soundtrack features plenty of songs that will be stuck in your headway after the credits roll. RAD is the type of movie you found yourself watching when stuck home, sick day from school, and then begged your parents to buy you a bike. A relatable underdog lead proves inspiring to viewers and RAD succeeds in utilizing movie tropes in creating an entertaining and fun 90 minutes.
Cru Jones (Bill Allen, The Quiet Ones) is a local high school biker in the small town of Cochrane. He has a paper route that allows him to practice daily as well as bike with his friends. The president of a bike company has decided to host Helltrack in Cochrane, a bike race with a winning prize of $100,000 and a new Corvette. This attracts not only the hottest riders from all over the country, but Cru himself to participate. However, things get complicated. This competition’s true intention is to help sell more bikes, but that’s only promised if a hotshot with an already established fanbase wins. Cru is not one of those as he is just a local boy, but is allowed to participate after concerns arise from citizens. Cru also finds himself being attracted to a fellow biker, Christian (Lori Loughlin) as well as deciding if he is to partake in the race instead of taking his SATs.
It’s hard being a teen in the 1980s, but RAD makes it look so cool and fun. Its cult status proved to be much more in 2020 when Vinegar Syndrome released their 4K set and found it to sell out instantly. Filled with new special features and a lenticular slipcover, fans shelled out the cash and still are if necessary, thanks to eBay sellers, for a crazy amount of money. As of right now, there are several listings for over $100! Luckily, we have Mill Creek to come to save the day.
While those features are not present here, it is still scanned and restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative. RAD looks amazing in high definition. There’s a color palette that defines the look of RAD and it proves to be vibrant and succeeds with this release. The iconic soundtrack is given a 5.1 boost that is detrimental. One thing to take from this movie is the music that compliments the bike sequences. There is a memorable dance/bike scenario early in the film that has to be seen to be believed because I will never forget it.
Hosted by Jorma Taccone, there is a virtual Q&A session with cast members Bill Allen, Talia Shire, Bart Conner, and screenwriter Sam Bernard. Everyone is clearly pleased with the film’s reputation and fan experiences resulting from a film that was initially panned. Archival interviews and a featurette is included with the cast and crew. With all that being said, nothing makes this release more 80s than the inclusion of the “Break the Ice” music video.
Mill Creek Entertainment has delivered a collector’s item with their RAD release, housed in a vibrant Mondo steelbook that fans new and old will treasure taking a ride in.