Smokey Banks was one of the best bull riders in the field before he became consumed with alcohol and gambling. After he finally hits rock bottom by getting himself in trouble, he will have to decide whether or not he wants to go to jail or if he wants to work at a troubled boys ranch teaching the residents how to be cowboys. One of the boys, much to Smokey’s chagrin, becomes very attached to the fallen athlete and convinces Smokey to teach him how to ride a bull. Little does Smokey know that his life will be forever changed as a result of coming to the ranch.
Production Quality (1.5 points)
For a late 1990s production, in keeping with usual Worldwide Pictures quality, The Ride is at least average, which was good for the time period. The opening sequence is effective and seems like the most effort was put into it. Camera work is good for the genre, though video quality is slightly grainy. Audio quality is fine, but the soundtrack is generic. Sets, locations, and props clearly had a lot of time put into them to make the film look realistic. Yet the editing of The Ride is an issue as the film jumps around too much and confuses the audience. Overall, this movie is passable and will be enjoyable to some audiences.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)
This plot is a slightly typical fish-out-of-water plot featuring a spoiled and famous ‘city’ character being forced to live in the ‘wilderness’, yet it is fairly well done. The characters therein are quite stereotypical, however, and fit into predetermined molds. There is also not enough plot content as time is used on too many filler scenes. Nevertheless, most of the dialogue is good and there are attempts to be meaningful. But in the end, the plot progression is quite predictable, including many expected scenes and a silly romantic subplot. In short, this is a fine effort, but it comes off a little bit lazy and phoned in.
Acting Quality (1 point)
For a supposedly professional cast, these performances are not what they should be. There is far too much yelling and emotions are too extreme. Line delivery is forceful and robotic throughout. However, performances do improve in the second half of the film, although it is a little late.
Worldwide Pictures had stronger films than The Ride. This one was perhaps before their prime and before they had fully honed the skills of quality film making. The good thing is that they did not stay at this lower quality for very long. But it’s a shame that they stopped making films after Last Flight Out, because, as pioneers in the field, they could have continued to adapt and change and still be a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps they will once again take up film making as a mode of evangelism one day.
Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points