With a likeable cast and generic road trip narrative, Wild Hogs had enough in the tank to pull in a massive box office draw of nearly $170 million. It’s a shame audiences weren’t treated to something worthwhile for their money. While it does offer up some mild fun and amusement, Wild Hogs is a lazy, dull, and clichéd romp with little merit.
William H. Macy steals this movie from his co-stars, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen, and John Travolta. Macy is the out of place guy in this band of wanna-be bikers, riding across the US for no reason other than to, well, ride across the US. Each is suffering from a mid-life crisis of his own, and their quest is a way to wind down and restore some lost youth.
Scripting here is forced. Before their trek can begin, they rid themselves of cell phones in order to be “free.” Not only does the scene make them out to be irresponsible idiots, it’s far too convenient for the writers to avoid the obvious question later when things go wrong. Another sequence later has a (very) gay karaoke singer repeatedly given screen time. Not only is the audience never introduced the character, he had no bearing on the plot and is never involved with the action.
Of course, movies like this are created to move from one scene to the other, putting the characters in increasingly disastrous situations that viewers find funny because it’s not them. In Wild Hogs, there’s plenty of scatological humor, gay references, and mild slapstick. It’s not enough to keep this one bringing laughs for the full running time.
As mentioned above, Macy is the show stealer. His laid back, polite approach to every situation is flawless. His remarks, which the character sees as perfectly logical, always hit at exactly the right moment.
The second act begins with the introduction of a rival, tough biker gang led by Ray Liotta, who has nothing to do other than walk around and look the part. His talents are thrown away, and the comedic tone of the movie is drowned by the gang’s generic actions. Bikers have tattoos, beat people up, and drink a lot. At least, that’s what they do in stereotyped movies.
Other general plot contrivances, including the Hogs’ wives magically making a massive cross country journey in what feels like a matter of a few hours, ruin this potentially funny comedy. There’s just not enough genuinely funny material here to have fun. It’s a movie every average movie goer has seen, and there are far better choices out there compared to Wild Hogs.
While sharp and crisp, the film has its share of small problems on Blu-ray. Contrast in the whites can be overblown and bloom extensively. Some outdoor scenes are hard to even make out. Flesh tones can be inconsistent, and the transfer can occasionally carry an over-processed look. Still, with solid blacks, excellent overall color, and some superb details in multiple scenes, this is a fine upgrade over the DVD.
Audio remains unspectacular for most of the film. Even the massive explosion featured at one point is rather flat. Bass is hardly noticeable. Ambience is non-existent, and the rear speakers get the day off. Even during the more crowded sequences, there’s nothing of note.
Extras are sparse and carry over from the DVD led by Bike, Brawls, and Burning Bars, an 18 minute ‘making of’ congratulatory piece about everyone’s role in the film. How to Get Your Wife to Let You Buy a Motorcyle is a self-explanatory piece that takes longer to read its title than view its content. Three deleted scenes, a wisely discarded alternate ending, and a few minutes of fun outtakes finish things off without any memorable content.