It was deemed "soulless, boring, [and] formulaic" by critics, but moviegoers flocked to Wild Hogs like flies to a pigsty. Apparently A-list stars John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H Macy proved an irresistible draw for this road-running comedy about four middle-aged men who start their own biker gang. The huge box office success of the film has paved the way for another collaboration between director Walt Becker and John Travolta, called Old Dogs.
Hogging The Limelight
Becker insists that this is a story close to heart in the standard, studio-produced 'Making Of' featurette Bikes, Brawls And Burning Bars. He explains that he's a motorcycle enthusiast who paid his way through college fixing up old Harleys and selling them on. So, it's not the first time he's taken a bunch of rusty old parts and cobbled them together for profit.
Of course the lead players line up to sing Becker's praises; Allen gives him ample credit after blithely admitting, "He's up to his neck in egos." Later on, Lawrence talks about how Becker helped him overcome his fear of getting on a bike. For Travolta it was second nature (or so he says), but everyone was a little scared of going up against an angry bull in one of many slapstick skits. A smattering of behind-the-scenes footage pads out the interviews.
A two-minute, throwaway featurette hears from Becker on How To Get Your Wife To Let You Buy A Motorcycle. But we advise you not to trust his theory that wearing a lot of leather will save you from injury. Going by the director's commentary for two out of three deleted scenes, we wouldn't put too much stock in his theories of film comedy either. Allen tortures a couple of dental patients in one sequence and there's an alternate ending where John C McGinley milks another lame joke out of his gay patrolman routine. An outtakes reel proves that the stars of the movie really are getting old as they forget lines and, in JT's case, fall asleep during a take.
Becker and screenwriter Brad Copeland team up for the film commentary. They reveal noble intentions in making this movie, trying to "capture a theme of eternal youth," as Copeland puts it. On top of that he and Becker pitched the film as an updated western to film execs, using bikes as a substitute for horses and trading on the idea of four drifters called upon to save a small town from marauding bandits. If that sounds like a movie you'd like to watch, then go out and rent The Magnificent Seven.
Wild Hogs DVD is released on Monday 27th August 2007.