Before the huge X-Games explosion of the late 90s, there was another place where extreme sports thrived; The 80s. Like any fad, there were numerous exploitation movies based on it. Thrashin was the cream of the crop to focus on skateboarding, but when it came to BMX there was a real debate. Was it BMX Bandits or Rad? In my mind, there has never been a doubt. While BMX Bandits is pretty good, it can't even come close to Rad. Likely both films spawned hardcore punk bands named after the movies, and Rad the band is far superior to BMX Bandits. (Although really neither are that great) So what makes Rad so good? To start, the star power: a pre-Full House Lori Laughlin is the love interest of our hero Cru, Talia `stop calling me Adrian' Shire has a great turn as Cru's mom, and veteran character actor Ray Walston is hilarious as a crankity old bike shop owner (`The world would be a lot better off without kids'). The movie also has one of my favorite scummy villains of the 80s, Jack Weston of Dirty Dancing, Short Circuit 2, and Can't Stop the Music (the fictionalized Village People biopic). With a cast this great you know you're in for a treat. The next key ingredient of Rad is the stunts. Instead of hiring BMX stuntmen and only using them for stunts, Rad gives them roles, playing themselves. It is set around a fictional BMX race called `Hell Track' and it draws some of the best riders from around the world. It is always a special treat seeing some of my favorite riders of yore on the screen along with Cru. It gives the movie an authentic feeling. It also has spectacular stunt scenes in the opening credits where they just let the riders do there thing and they really show off their skills which are highlighted by interesting angles and slow motion. Another great thing about Rad is the soundtrack. It's the typical eighties teen targeting soundtrack full of various genres aimed to get kids attention; rock, dance, new wave, even some ballads. They all work though and you'll be humming the tunes long after the movie has stopped. The hit `Send Me An Angel' (which was later used to great effect in the Fred Savage vehicle / Nintendo commercial The Wizard) is especially great and has found its way onto mix tapes of mine ever since the I first bought the soundtrack in 87 with it's catchy, haunting synth line. All in all, Rad is more than just a fun trip down nostalgia lane. Even if you haven't grown up in the 80's or gotten caught up in the BMX craze, it is still a lot of fun. And besides, what other movie do you get to see Ray Walston give the middle finger with such conviction?