Film Review: The Sidehackers (1969)

Also known as: Five the Hard Way
Release Date: May 1969
Directed by: Gus Trikonis
Written by: Larry Billman, Tony Huston
Music by: Mike Curb, Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner
Cast: Ross Hagen, Diane McBain, Michael Pataki, Goldie Hawn (uncredited)

Crown International Pictures, 82 Minutes

Review:

This may be one of the worst movies I have ever seen but it still isn’t as putrid and shitty as Manos: The Hands of Fate. It is pretty damn close though and when run through the Cinespiria Shitometer, it comes out as a Type 6 stool, which is defined as “Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool.” But like Manos and other Shitometer worthy films I have come in contact with, this one was introduced to me by Mystery Science Theater 3000.

In all fairness, as bad as this film is, it makes up one of the greatest MST3K episodes of all-time. It featured ESPN like commentary during the motorcycle races and even had scoreboard graphics pop up on the screen. The episode featured some good gags but the biggest gag, unfortunately, is that we, the audience, had to sit through this golden goose of mongoose poop.

The movie is kind of cool when it shows what “sidehacking” actually is. I had no idea what it was but apparently it was a sort of motorcycle race where the bikes have a sort of cage attached to their side where guys do tricks for the spectators. I mean, I think that’s what it is, it really isn’t clear. It’s a bizarre sport that seems to only exist in this movie but I wasn’t alive in the 1960s and didn’t spend much time around the counterculture motorcycle crews of the time.

Here are some things that go without saying – the film is poorly shot, poorly edited, has bad sound, bad acting, bad direction and a bad script. The “sidehacking” is the only highlight and really, it isn’t that exciting.

The story sees a bad ass sidehacker get caught up with an evil criminal biker. The evil biker’s girlfriend says that the sidehacker dude raped her after he turned her down for sex. You see, the sidehacker dude loves his lady and they spend a lot of time in this film rolling around in grass and giggling: real cutesy stuff. Evil biker then murders sidehacker dude’s girlfriend. Sidehacker dude decides to become the Punisher but he’s really bad at it. In the end, they duke it out in a final crescendo of boredom. Spoiler alert: sidehacker dude bests evil biker in fisticuffs but as he is walking away, is shot from behind. Sidehacker dude falls dead as the image of him and his girlfriend rolling in grass is superimposed over his dead body. The end.

I don’t hate this movie but it really is total shit. It also features a young Goldie Hawn in an uncredited role as a spectator. It’s good to see that this helped launch her storied career.

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