Review: Bikers test themselves, machines in ‘On Any Sunday’ documentary |

Review: Bikers test themselves, machines in ‘On Any Sunday’ documentary

Event participants and crew in action while filming for 'On Any Sunday; The Next Chapter' at Red Bull Day in the Dirt at Glen Helen Motorsports Park in San Bernardino, Calif.

There’s something about motorcycles and motorcycle documentaries that bring out the kid in us all. The immediacy of the experience, the speed, the hair’s breadth away from danger, good films get across the intoxicating hobby and sport that is practiced the world over.

“On Any Sunday” was the definitive “Sunday ride/Sunday race” motorcycle film. Released in 1971 by famed surf-documentary pioneer Bruce Brown, it showed the broad expanse of the motorcycling experience in the America of that time, from serious racers to enthusiasts like movie star Steve McQueen.

“On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter” is an updating of that film by Brown’s veteran filmmaker son, Dana. It goes global, capturing dirt-track racing in California, motocross, MotoGP-track racing, kids getting hooked early, Vietnamese using bikes as trucks and Africans revolutionizing malaria diagnosis and treatment with the aid of two-wheelers.

Cameras have gotten smaller and sharper, many corners of the sport have become institutionalized, a fact underlined by Red Bull’s sponsorship of riders and backing of this film.

But the thrill is still there. Brown, narrating this tale about those who walk the line “between the insane and the sublime,” gets it.

He skips to so many places, profiles so many racers, that “Next Chapter” feels rushed, the briefest of overviews of the state of motorcycling.

Brown and his camera team don’t overdo the use of the modern GoPro cameras, but that footage peppers and spices up the lovely slow-mo races, 360s and crashes captured here.

The whole affair feels slicker, less DIY, less outlaw than the bikers and races of Brown’s father’s film.

But Brown still manages to deliver a fun and enticing biker documentary that reminds us all that we never really grow out of our first mastery of vehicles on two wheels.

Roger Moore reviews movies for McClatchy News Service.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.