Stone (1974)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Biker Film, Police Detective Film  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - Australia   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Jason Buchanan

"Take the trip" indeed. Biker film fans hungering for something a bit different may do well to seek out this satisfying cult-classic from Down Under due to the fact that a bizarre soundtrack and some intoxicating stylistic choices make it one of the most oddball biker flicks ever produced. While the concept of an undercover police officer infiltrating a biker gang was certainly nothing new or original even back in 1974, the fact that Stone director/star Sandy Harbutt allows the action to unfold at a leisurely pace by allowing the viewer to get better acquainted with his unique band of outlaws gives his film an authentic feel and unique energy. As a result, viewers in search of a fast-paced thrill ride along the lines of Mad Max or The Road Warrior are likely to be somewhat disappointed, while viewers more interested in the outlaw lifestyle, attitude, and the thrill of riding the open road are treated to a hard-edged action thriller that embodies the unique code of ethics practiced by it's dirt-crusted protagonists.

While at first headliner Ken Shorter seems too much of a pretty-boy milquetoast to ride with the scraggly-bearded big boys of the Grave Digger motorcycle club, he definitely delivers the goods when the situation calls for action. As the Grave Digger's head honcho Undertaker, director/star Harbutt personifies the one-percenter lifestyle by portraying his character as the kind of leader capable of eliciting undying devotion from his loyal followers, all of whom know that they're in for a vicious stomping should they violate his rigid code. Mad Max heavy Hugh Keays-Byrne makes a big impression as the acid-eating biker who holds a crucial piece of the puzzle and toys with a few unsuspecting yuppies when they wander into the Grave Digger's regular bar, and a hazy scene in which the bikers reflect on how they all came together indicates that Harbutt was more interested in exploring the motorcycle club lifestyle than churning out a quickie exploitation flick. Even so, Stone still manages to deliver some brutal thrills that continue to shock over thirty-years after the fact.