Going In:

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this movie for many months. I’m a huge fan of the original On Any Sunday from 1971. No film better captures the pure joy and enthusiasm of riding. Motorcycles are a big part of my life and I’m lucky to live where riding is a year-round affair.

I’m hoping for a modern version of the original film that captures the same feeling, but with today’s high-quality video equipment.

Review:

On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter is a look into the current state of motorcycle sports, primarily in the United States. It takes the audience to a wide variety of two-wheeled events, with interviews of many riders and their family members about what motorcycling means to them. This film is essentially a remake of the 1971 version, but with the popular events and personalities of today. It was produced by Dana Brown, son of Bruce Brown, who made the original film.

First and foremost, the videography is top notch. You get an hour and a half of stunning action footage, with sweeping high-angle shots using helicopters and drones.  This film is chock-full of super-slow motion shots showing racing bikes bend, flex, and shake at the limits of traction. This is my kind of pornography, and it is seriously gratuitous.

Brown covers a cross-section of the most popular motorcycle events around the world. To name a few:  high-speed flat-track dirt racing in Illinois, motocross track racing in SoCal, ice racing on a frozen lake in Canada, a brutal hare scramble over impossible terrain in Austria, and international roadracing around the world with the MotoGP series. It’s not all about competition, however. We get to follow the trail of a doctor in Africa who is able to treat many patients in remote rural areas by traveling on a dirt bike, provided by the Riders for Health organization. And we get a look at motocross legend Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus stunting tour.

The film spends a lot of time talking with big names like freestyle motocross champion Robbie Maddison, influential designer Roland Sands, Pikes Peak record breaker Carlin Dunne, and Honda’s MotoGP stars Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

This movie is a visual feast, and never boring. If I had to nitpick, I was a little let down by the audio. Nothing gives me goosebumps like the roaring/screaming/shrieking of uncorked race engines.  That sound doesn’t come through the TV, I don’t care how expensive your home audio system is.  I wanted to see this in theaters because of the powerful cinema surround sound, but it didn’t blow me away like I was hoping.

It felt like there was something missing at the core of this movie. The original 1971 film screamed: “look how FUN this is” and “anyone can get into this”.  It was a message of inclusivity.  40 years later, today’s portrayal of motorcycling in pop culture is the opposite: energy drink sponsors focus on extreme riding and stunting, something most riders will never experience. Harley Davidson relies on the “tough guy” / “outlaw” image to sell merchandise whose profits dwarf those of actual bike sales.  Major players like these often portray motorcycling as an EXCLUSIVE club, which I believe puts many potential riders off.  Motorcycling is a great activity that almost anyone can get into, and the bang-for-the-buck factor doesn’t get any better.  The Next Chapter focused too heavily on professional athletes and and event insiders, furthering the image of exclusivity.

Conclusion:

This is a great primer on the present state of motorcycle sports in the US.  It doesn’t replicate the magic of the original, but is a great update and companion to it.  If you’re into motorcycles or any other kind of motorsport, this is a strong recommend.  General audiences can probably take it or leave it.

 

On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter Review
A beautiful and adrenaline-filled cross-section of today's two-wheeled motorsports
Storytelling6
Craftsmanship9
Performances7
Satisfaction6.5
The Good
  • Stunning videography
  • Great interviews with top talent
  • Perhaps the definitive motorcycle movie of the decade?
The Bad/Ugly
  • Every frame has a Red Bull logo somewhere
  • Mickey Rourke is no Steve McQueen
  • No love for homegrown roadracing?
7.1Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Justin

I'm a video game programmer, just like Chev Chelios. I've loved movies all of my life, favor substance over style, and try to have high standards and an open mind.

  • Justin

    You’d better be quick if you want to catch this in theaters. Looks like it might only be around for a few more days. There were only 3 other people in the matinee showing I went to. (in Winter Park, Florida)

  • http://mastercritic.com/ Tim

    Why is it called On Any Sunday? Sounds at first blush like a football movie.

    • Justin

      Sunday is race day. Motorsports events usually involve travel, setup, practice, and qualifying sessions before the final green light drops.