Viva Knievel! (1977)

Genres - Action, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Release Date - Jun 10, 1977 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

"So bad that it's good" -- a phrase that gets thrown around more often than not, though you can be sure that it does indeed apply to Evel Knievel's one and only dramatic film, Viva Knievel! Surrounded by a cast that includes not only Gene Kelly but also Red Buttons and Lauren Hutton, Evel's big break was and is exactly that, one broken down hunk of junk of a flick, despite the extra star-power behind it. Knievel was always a champion of the anti-drug movement when he talked to kids and this movie is absolutely no different! Not only does it open up in a children's orphanage with the daredevil dropping off presents to the lonely tikes, but the whole plot revolves around a hackneyed scheme to replace Evel at an event in Mexico so that Leslie Nielsen can import drugs into the U.S. illegally. It's like the motorcycled maniac had a checklist of story elements that the writers had to cross off when they were writing the script -- all of which makes Viva Knievel! all the more goofy and downright hilarious. Other high points include Kelly's drug freak-out in an insane asylum along with Evel's deft line delivery and flowing chest hair that never cease to astound each time they appear. Recommended for kitsch lovers and Knievel fans everywhere.