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Film / BMX Bandits

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Classic 1983 Australian children's film directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith (of The Man from Hong Kong, Turkey Shoot, Dead End Drive-In and Leprechaun fame.) Notable for being the big-screen debut of Nicole Kidman.

Two BMX bikers, P.J. (Angelo D'Angelo) and Goose (James Lugton) want nothing more than to build a BMX track. While out on a ride, they accidentally crash their bikes into a line of shopping trolleys that are pushed into their path by a bully. They meet Judy (Kidman), who is saving up money to buy her own BMX bike. After losing her job due to the accident, the three look for another way to raise money to buy new equipment. While trying to harvest shellfish from the local docks, they come across a submerged water-tight box. Inside, they find dozens of walkie-talkies, which they test and later sell. Unfortunately, the walkie-talkies are set to the local police band, which attracts police attention. Worse, the docks are a dead drop meant for a gang of bank-robbers planning to use them to avoid the police during a high-value, now-or-never, payroll job. Two of the gang, a pair of Bumbling Criminals—Mustache and Dwayne Whitey—originally tasked with retrieving the walkie-talkies, track down the trio to get their equipment back. This culminates in a lengthy foot/car/bike chase about Sydney.

This film provides examples of:

  • '80s Hair: Judy/Kidman.
  • Alliterative Title
  • Australian New Wave: One of the later examples.
  • Affably Evil: Dwayne. He at least has the decency to thank the people he's robbing for their cooperation and even compliments one of the bank teller's outfits on the way out.
    Dwayne: I like red!
  • Big Eater: Dwayne, who carries a large cooler with him when he and Mustache go on a speedboat to do a pickup.
    Mustache: Dwayne! Will you get a move on?! You don't have to cut lunch, you know!
    (much later in the film)
    Dwayne: You're learning nuts, the attitude. If you can do it with that sort of attitude, well hit them some time before lunch!
  • Chase Scene: The climax involves a lengthy chase around Sydney, with stunts such as taking the BMX bikes down a water slide. Mustache gets pushed into said slide after them.
  • Cool Boat: Mustache and Dwayne have a sweet speedboat with a souped-up V8.
  • Cool Bike: BMX Product Placement is all over the place in this movie.
  • Cool Car: Mustache's black 1972 Ford LTD sedan with sunroof, U.S. Alloy 5-slot wheels and custom exhaust. The poor thing turns into The Alleged Car after Dwayne wrecks it while chasing the protagonists.
  • Drives Like Crazy:
    • Dwayne, who doesn't even have a drivers license.
    Dwayne: I had a bit of trouble with the handbrake but, uh, not bad.
    Dwayne: Can't drive with the window open, mate.
    (he takes both hands off the wheel and looks away to close the sunroof to Mustache's horror)
    (a few minutes later...)
    Dwayne: (while surveying the damage) Not bad, considering.
    • Not that Mustache does any better.
    (while trying to get them in a warehouse, which mainly consists of Mustache spinning his car around whenever he misses them while Dwayne, standing up through the sunroof, is lobbing wadded-up food wrappers at the three )
    Dwayne: What are you doin', mate, are you tryin' to make 'em dizzy?!
    (while still spinning the car around with tires screeching and Dwayne standing up through the sunroof)
    Dwayne: Stop!!! I'm gonna be sick in a minute!!! We've lost the children!!!
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Mustache, when they chase the kids through the cemetery. Fortunately, Dwayne is prepared for that.
    Mustache: Careful, Dwayne.
    Dwayne: What?
    Mustache: They see our faces and we're finished.
    Dwayne: Do you think I am an idiot? Where would we be without our disguises?
    Mustache: I am not going into a cemetery dressed as a pig!
    Dwayne: Don't worry about it, mate. (produces two grotesque masks perfect for the occasion) We're going formal.
    • The Boss, who has orchestrated multiple bank robberies, and has taken a kid as a hostage to ensure their latest job isn't disrupted, is genuinely disturbed by the kind of films that Judy has been describing.
    Judy: ...but he goes anyway and takes his axe with him—
    The Boss: (visibly disturbed) Enough! Enough. I can't believe my bleedin' ears. This is the kind of stuff they let the kids see these days? I mean, what sort of parents do they got, eh?
  • The Family for the Whole Family: Kids pursued by Stupid Crooks, and outrunning them on bikes even when the bad guys are in cars. It's even Lamp Shaded by Dwayne at one point.
    (later, just after narrowly hitting them)
    Dwayne: How we haven't hit them by now is a wonder to me.
  • Fat Bastard: There's the obligatory nasty fat kid who annoys the protagonists. He's even listed in the credits as "Fat Kid".
  • Free-Range Children: The young teen heroes ride all over Sydney without any parental supervision at all. And some of the characters in the bike cavalry are even younger, and equally unsupervised.
  • Kid Heroes: Well, actually technically young teens.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Mustache and Dwayne pose as plainclothes undercover officers in order to get Judy to talk. Judy quickly realizes that they're not and plays along long enough for her friends to show up. During a chase at the mall, they're able to con quite a few people who they run into that they really are police officers. This includes Judy's ex-boss in a bit of Laser-Guided Karma.
    Judy's Ex-Boss: Who's going to clear all this whole bloody mess up and pay for it?
    Dwayne: That's a tax deduction!
    Judy's Ex-Boss: Hey, that's not fair!
    Dwayne: That's life, pal!
  • Large Ham: David Argue (Dwayne) and John Wey (Mustache) steal the show as the bad guys.
    Mustache: (wearing a pig mask and holding several people at gun point) You are staring death in the face!
    (while in the cemetery, arguing and still dressed in their masks)
    Mustache: You need a brain transplant, you understand?!
  • Laughably Evil: Mustache and Dwayne. They're bank robbers, and good at it, but they're both bumbling fools when they chase down the three protagonists to get their walkie talkies.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The Boss. His robberies are all well-planned. His decision to take a job only a few days after the last one is due to the high value of their target.note  The payroll job itself is also well-planned and requires that they monitor the police chatter to escape. Hence why they need the walkie-talkies. His decision to kidnap Judy is to ensure that her friends don't call the police on them and interfere with their latest job.
  • Spanner in the Works: The three protagonists unwittingly stealing their shipment of walkie talkies at the bad guys' dead-drop is what propels the entire plot. Otherwise, the payroll job would've gone off without a hitch.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Goose Who are those freaks?
    Judy: Well, I can tell you one thing, they're definitely not cops.
    P.J. Well, don't worry, they can't get at us in here.
    (cue crooks crashing right through a flimsy door in their car inside a large, open, abandoned, warehouse)
  • Unabashed B-Movie Fan: Goose is a fan of slasher movies with titles like Kiss the Blood Off My Carburetor, and keeps regaling his friends with their plots. Judy later regales the crooks with a made-up one to distract them.
  • Vehicle Title: Named after the BMX bikes the kids ride.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Mustache has one after not only losing the threesome, but realizing the damage that Dwayne has done to his car from his horrible driving and lays into him.
    Mustache: You couldn't drive MY GRANDMOTHER INTO A GRAVE!!!
    • The Boss has one when they're mobbed by a bunch of kids, ruining the payroll job, and lays into Dwayne and Mustache during their escape.
    The Boss: You dummies! You prones! You mummified pontsies! Brains?! They'd have to send out search parties to look for yours!
  • Watch the Paint Job: Mustache's LTD starts out as a black, sinister muscle sedan; ignoring the flotsam and jetsam that spills out every time they open a door. By the end of the film, it's been through the wringer thanks to Dwayne.
    Mustache: (after Dwayne kicks one of the flat tires) Don't treat my car like an animal!
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Mustache and Dwayne plan to kill Judy by making it look like she drowned by accident once she gives up the location of the walkie-talkies. When Judy stonewalls them, Mustache loses patience and just wants to beat it out of her. Fortunately, she escapes at this point.
    • When The Boss sees The Cavalry show up, who are all kids, his first response is to have his men arm themselves with clubs and guns "to put the frighteners on them". Fortunately, Judy manages to shut the trunk the guns are stored in and throw the car keys away before they can grab them. The kids rush the ones with the clubs so quickly that they can't get a hit in.
  • You Dirty Rat!: When Judy hides from the goons in an open grave, she has to deal with a huge rat at the bottom of it.