Freebird – How Much Can Three Men Take?

Three London bike couriers head for Wales in search of a hippie’s fabled cargo of home grown weed and spend most of the movie off their trolleys.

An early scene introduces us to the ‘The Chairman’ a grizzled Cockney villain plausibly played by Peter Bowles, in a graphic departure from the urbane identity in which most will remember him from ‘To The Manor Born.’ 

As the trio of riders, Fred (Gary Stretch) Tyg (Geoff Bell) and Grouch (Phil Daniels) slalom past the London sights on Jap and Italian hardware, a subplot unfolds with a bunch of sports biker riders leaving the capital to avenge a member’s death at the hands of a rival club inhabiting the same Welsh territory as the fabled dope.

The hunt for the holy grail of weed is ‘assisted’ by the absorption of copious chemicals, providing scenes which the more indulgent may recognise with nostalgic clarity.

The final showdown between the power rangers and a more traditional biker club provides a novel conflict between coloured leathers and cut-offs which flies in the face of reality. A gang leader in race kit with a go-fast-hump on his back.  Improbability, however, is something that has to be accepted from the outset if one is to avoid a charge of train spotting pedanticism.

So does this film show bikers in a positive light as responsible citizens employing a socially acceptable transport mode in a manner designed to address 21st century congestion and mobility issues? Errr not quite.

Actually it parodies every negative stereotype from the worst of the 70s New English Library catalogue of conflict and excess. There’s even a seven foot simpleton in a wrestler mask and a thug with a four clawed mace who rides his Triumph without a helmet, it’s anarchy Jim and just how we love it.

This ain’t a serious movie. If that hasn’t sunk in by the time the mushroom-induced slow riding contest unfolds then you’ve missed the point. Order some IAM best riding practice DVDs and chill out with a glass of milk. 


Is it a British Easy Rider? No. 

Directed by Jon Ivay with some of the crew from ‘Snatch’ and ‘Layer Cake’ the parallels are obvious in the exercised appetite for utter absurdity, there’s even a wild panther in the woods for reasons that remain unclear.


Yes and the soundtrack by ‘Youth’ is great from the opening country rock guitar.

I’d watch it again just to see an off his face Gary Stretch (Fred) order three pints of Badger Bollocks from a frog.

On release from 1st February 2008.

Review by

Ian Mutch – The Road

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