A Hero, a Villain and… – Hell’s Belles (1970)

Hell’s Belles is a Bikesploitation movie released in 1970 that finds a man named Dan trying to recover the motorbike he won in a contest from a man named Tampa who has stolen it. It is a battle of wits between the two with some laughs and some grit thrown in for good measure. With everyone else in Tampa’s gang caught in the middle along with a woman named Cathy whose emotions are torn between her old life and the man she now finds herself with, Dan and Tampa refuse to back down and will only do so until one of them is dead.

Jeremy Slate stars as the erstwhile hero, a man out to claim what is his while sometimes resorting to extreme measures to do so. It is not so much the theft that irks him, but what the bike means and that is a future, one that lets him live the life he wants to lead and without that bike, that future is in doubt. As for the villain, Tampa is played by Adam Roarke who does a fantastic job as the leader of his gang and one who cares for little except his newfound property. Tampa is willing to do whatever it takes to keep it and as such, it puts him at odds with Dan, the two men polar opposites in every way. The fact that the two men are so different is part of what makes this movie so fun and where a lot of the comedy comes from. Roarke is what has to be, unintentionally funny though underneath it all he carries a hint of menace, something which is needed as the leader of a gang. Also featured within is Jocelyn Lane as the woman caught in the middle, much like the bike in question. She is an unwilling hostage of sorts, one who is given away by Tampa as a consolation prize and one that Dan does not want, but in the end does not mind having her around despite the means she arrived in his life.

There are some good action scenes involving both on the motorbikes and off and all of it, the laughs included, are ably brought to life by the cast and director Maury Dexter. The music by Les Baxter is appropriate and fits the motion picture well and on top of that, there is some good cinematography which gives it a bit of an epic feel, though it is obviously no Ben-Hur or even Easy Rider. Altogether, Hell’s Belles is one of the better biker movies to ever hit the big screen and well worth seeking out for a bit of good fun rarely seen outside a western film, of which this movie highly resembles.

3.5 out of 5

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