Rod Tillman (Steve Alaimo) is a stock car driver that crashes… a lot. He ends up sucking so bad that he has to quit his job. As he’s wandering down the road to nowhere he runs into a trio of bikers. Jeeter (John Vella) is the leader of the pack and offers Rod an opportunity to score some easy cash if he works as their driver during a few heists.
At first Rod isn’t interested, even if the sultry skank Linda (Bobbie Byers) is all over him. But befuddled Lieutenant Dorn (Walter R. Philbin) approaches him. The Lieutenant tells Rod to accept the offer and help the cops catch the biker gang. Our hero agrees, but finds out that it’s not going to be easy. Banjo (Willie Pastrano) takes an immediate dislike to him. And Fats (Jeff Gillen) may not say much, but is more cunning than he lets on… at least the movie wants us to believe that. Will Rod be able to survive his adventure with The Wild Rebels?
|Let's play a game, who do you think smells the worst?|
One of the big problems with Wild Rebels is that Rod just isn’t a hero; he’s a dork. When we meet him, he’s just crashed his stock car and it goes downhill from there. His antics at the club where he meets Jeeter’s gang are supposed to be cool, but he comes across more like a jerk and then a spaz when he dances. Once we see him in action as an undercover wheelman – well I don’t believe it for a minute and I’m not surprised that Banjo and Fats are suspicious.
|Rod should really wear the helmet all the time.|
|Linda in disguise as a "square". She even took a|
shower to be more believable.
But who is the dumbest character in Wild Rebels? My vote goes to Lieutenant Dorn. He goes on and on about how clever and smart the criminals are. Uh-huh. He automatically makes the idiot list because he’s outwitted by Banjo!
|Banjo gets in touch with his inner Homo habilis.|
But in the end Wild Rebels just never gels. You don’t believe these dolts could pull off a basic mugging much less a bank robbery. You don’t believe that Rod could deceive anyone, and you really don’t believe that Fats could run up all those stairs to get to the top of a lighthouse. The only rebels we need here are Joel and the bots!
|Banjo won't ride unless Rod is wearing his helmet!|
For me, Wild Rebels is one of the stronger episodes of the season and I think the movie itself has a lot to do with it. There is just so much to work with here and Joel and bots seem to be having a lot of fun with it. Its less dower than The Sidehackers, but still filled with oily stupid characters that just beg to be mocked.
Most of the humor revolves around how dumb every one is. The bikers get riffed on mercilessly, with Banjo deservedly getting the focus of the humor. But “virgin goddess” Linda opens up a bunch of a jokes once she starts talking about doing all kinds of things “for kicks, baby!” Yes, you can predict the myriad of cereal references that Joel and the bots start throwing out there, but they get some surprisingly naughty lines in about her jumping from guy to guy.
|Linda endures the song stylings of Mr. Alaimo.|
However, the last quarter of Wild Rebels, from the bank heist to the shoot-out is full of great riffing. The chase sequence with its squealing tires as the cars drive through a swamp gives the guys lots of fodder. And when we hit the lighthouse the gloves come off and its pretty much non-stop comedy to the tragic conclusion.
|Munchy Crunchy Wild Rebels Cereal! Bot tested|
|You don't want to know what fear smells like.|