FilmWorks // 2008 // 63 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // July 9th, 2011
It's not the destination. It's their journey.
Riding a hog cross-country sure seems like an adventurous blast, but for the many bikers taking their beloved machines all across the United States in Collin Gates' documentary Road to Thunder, it means so much more than that. The film follows twelve veterans as they guide their motorcycles from Sacramento, California, to Washington, D.C., for the annual Rolling Thunder event, at which they get the chance to connect with thousands of passionate bikers and show their support of POWs and MIAs.
Road to Thunder is a sincere little documentary that gives proud veterans a voice and lets them share their love for both their country and the cause they are supporting by embarking on this extensive journey. Interviews not only focus on the former soldiers' experiences in war, but they also provide a deeper insight into who these people are now and what it is about riding a motorcycle across their country that fills their life with an unsurpassable rush of adrenaline and pride.
Road to Thunder only runs for an hour, but that's plenty of time to establish the central riders and follow them as they cruise from state to state all while battling bad weather, running into technical problems, witnessing unfortunate accidents and meeting fellow Americans rooting for their courage and their cause. Think of this documentary as a different kind of road trip movie; the kind that revolves around a group of patriots celebrating their country.
Even though a feeling of patriotism certainly dominates Road to Thunder, it's the humanity in the film that makes it worth watching. Watching the bikers ride is fun, yes, but hearing them speak and share their stories and thoughts adds a warm layer that easily appeals to everyone who may have had similar experiences. It even got through to me, and I've never been involved with military or a war. The people director Collin Gates focused on definitely help drive the story.
The disc offers the film in a clean widescreen presentation, and the picture quality does the job. The same goes for the audio. In terms of specials, the DVD boasts an informative audio commentary with Gates and one of the bikers. Also included are extended interviews and a photo gallery.
Road to Thunder highlights a significant cause for many Americans, and it has a lot of heart. It follows a group of men who clearly had trouble adjusting to a normal life again after fighting for their country overseas, and it demonstrates how these very men find solace in what they enjoy. Ride on!
Not guilty, but keeping wearing that helmet.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 63 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Gallery