BMX Bandits (1983)

5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 6/10

First film of Nicole Kidman, some nice scenery

Dull version of The Goonies

Movie Info

Movie Name:  BMX Bandits

Studio:  Nilsen Premiere

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  December 29, 1983 (Australia)/July 13, 1984 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Guess what…twenty years from now I can buy and sell you two…

P.J. (Angelo D’Angelo), Goose (James Lugton), and Judy (Nicole Kidman) are in need of new wheels.  When they discover a set of professional grade walkie-talkies that a group of criminals intended to use for their next crime, they find themselves the targets of the crooks and pursued by Whitey (David Argue) and Moustache (John Ley).  When the police reveal that the men have big rewards out for them, P.J., Goose, and Judy realize that it could be the chance to get the BMX track that they’ve always wanted.

Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, BMX Bandits (sometimes called Short Wave) was a small kid-based action-adventure film that gained a small following.  The movie feature the film premiere of Nicole Kidman and was recognized by the Australian Film Institute.


If I had a dollar for every time crooks were captured like this…

BMX Bandits gets a lot of comparison to The Goonies.  I can understand the comparison.  Though it predates The Goonies, the film involves stolen loot, bumbling crooks, and kids out to stop them.  The difference between BMX Bandits and The Goonies is that BMX Bandits is dull…really dull.

The movie is filled (I mean filled) with really slow speed chases that go on forever.  These chases are pretty uninspired and unlike The Goonies, the crooks pursuing them aren’t as smart of actors as Joe Pantoliano and Robert Davi.  In the film’s defense, the director has said he was going for kids version of British comedy from ’50s and ’60s with a lot of slapstick style comedy…I just don’t think it worked well with the script.


That’s a lot of bandits…on BMX bikes

The movie however is a nice showcase for Sydney due to the fact that the characters ride all over the city.  This was at the beginning of the whole “Australia Boom” which seemed to peak with “Crocodile” Dundee in 1986.  Australia became the hot place to have movies not long after this film so you could kind of see it as a precursor to other films that capitalized on the location.

Nicole Kidman is obviously why most people see this movie.  She won the role and had to learn to ride a BMX bike for it.  In the scene when she fell into the grave, she sprained her ankle which some say resulted in a male stand-in in a wig for some of the stunts…I seem to doubt this and can’t imagine that there was every any intent for her to do some of the tricks.

BMX Bandits is a bit of a throwback and might entertain around the age of ten.  For some, the accents might be a bit tricky and there is a lot of slang (both Australian and just outdated) thrown around so it isn’t for everyone.  Nicole Kidman I’m thinking generally doesn’t put this on her highlight reel, but everyone has to start somewhere.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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