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Freebird falls short

Published: 09 January 2008

Updated: 19 November 2014

New biker movie Freebird is described in the makers’ bumf as a cross between the cult classics Withnail & I and Quadrophenia, but it’s more like Pirates of the Caribbean on bikes.

MCN attended an exclusive screening of the film, about three motorcycle couriers (Phil Daniels, Geoff Bell and Gary Stretch) who ride to Wales to find a hippy (Arthur Brown) and his cannabis farm.

Fred (Stretch) must take some back to London for his friend the Chairman (Peter Bowles) but the mission is hampered when the three take magic mushrooms and stumble into a war between greasy, bandana-wearing biker gangs.

Produced by David Reid and Adam Bohling, who also produced Layer Cake, Freebird is a circus of absurd stereotypes with a plot that relies on too much happening in the same weekend in the same corner of the Welsh countryside.

If it was funnier, or more fun, it might be forgiven for this. But despite a few laughs, this film only has one joke: isn’t it funny to take loads of drugs? Without the inventive dialogue of Withnail & I, it’s not.

Apart from the obvious motorcycling theme, the film is littered with references apparently aimed at us. In one scene, the leader of a biker gang says in a rabble rousing speech: “Wherever we may be – at Cadwell or Mallory...” Other scenes take place outside the Ace Café in London.

But Freebird risks alienating as many motorcyclists as it appeals to, while a wider audience could be left cold by a film best described as mildly good fun in places. 

Freebird is released nationally on February 1.

Get MCN, on sale January 16, to read MCN’s exclusive interview with stars Phil Daniels and Geoff Bell and director Jon Ivay


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