DVD Review: Ride Report

STUDIO: Cinema Libre | DIRECTOR: Tiernan Turner, Matt Kendall
DVD RELEASE DATE: 6/10/2014 | PRICE: DVD $19.95
BONUSES: extra footage, bonus interviews
SPECS: NR | 90 min. | Documentary | widescreen | stereo |

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall


Two novice motorcycle riders (with no mechanical experience) named Matt and Tiernan decide to ride from Las Vegas to Rio de Janeiro with the noble goal of meeting “hot Brazilian chicks” during Rio’s Carnaval. Armed with a couple of cameras, they take to the open road, seeking thrills. The result is the “adventure” documentary Ride Report.

In an era where anyone—and everyone—who owns a DSLR camera considers themselves a filmmaker, dozens of autobiographical films like this one are made every year. So why should anyone care to watch these particular bros ride their bikes through Latin America?

Ride Report movie scene

Matt Kendall at Argentina’s Iguazu Falls in Ride Report.

Presumably, it’s because of their charm. But while they’re clearly good at losing wallets, bumbling through customs, and picking up señoritas all over Central America, they’re not exactly interesting protagonists. In fact, they’re about as bland, middle­class, self-centered white guys as you’ll ever find. This might have worked out fine if the film used them as, say, a way to comment on how ignorant Americans can be about the rest of the world, but that’s not going to happen in a film where the two stars also shot, directed and edited the film.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that, after passionately declaring their commitment to riding all the way to Rio, no matter what the odds, they end up catching a plane over most of South America in order to make it there on time for Carnaval…all due to their general incompetence and lack of geography skills. (The film conveniently forgets to mention how much it costs to ship your motorcycle across an entire continent.) Hence, the whole premise of this epic journey doesn’t actually happen.

If anything, Ride Report is a fascinatingly unaware commentary on just how much the world has become a rich kid’s playground; with just a credit card and an iPhone, you can basically bumble your way through planet Earth without any forethought and still make it back home. The modern­day “Adventure Rider” is nothing more than a spoiled child who’s infatuated with On the Road, even though he’s never read it­ redeemed only by his absolutely clueless sincerity. Towards the end of the film, Matt displays a rare moment of self­-reflection, observing that, between all the English­ speakers they’ve encountered and the constant help from the internet, this hasn’t really been much of a challenge at all. He’s  right—but a a forced, clichéd ending pretty much wipes away any chance of character development.

While Ride Report is nicely shot (especially considering the two shooters were riding bikes the whole time), it’s more of a fun home movie one of your friends might have made than an actual, bona fide document of anything worth preserving. If you’re into couch surfing, though, you’ll enjoy the DVD extras, which feature extra footage and bonus interviews of fellow travelers the guys met along their way.


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About Memo

Memo Salazar attempts many things and accomplishes few. His big three are making films, music, and comics, but he'll throw photography, graphic design and film criticism into the ring for good measure. He'll even make you a hand-painted t-shirt if you ask nicely. You can track his activity here when there's nothing else to do at work.