Winners Take All (1987) – Review

1 Star

Ah the 1980’s; a time when any sport or sporting event could be turned into a cinematic cash grab. In a decade that saw ripe examples such as BMX Bandits, Rad, Thrasin’ and Gleaming the Cube, the limp super-cross racing flick Winners Take All, is one of the worst examples of this once burgeoning sub-genre. Taking its inspiration from the Rocky/Karate Kid manuscript, Winners Take All is an amalgamation of other more effective moves with some racing sequences that aren’t thrilling enough to sell the seductiveness of the sport or its riders.

Rick Melon (Don Michael Paul) is a small-town boy, content spending his days riding his dirt bike through the dusty trails of his sleep California back roads, and sharing love with his attractive girlfriend Cindy (Deborah Richter). Rick is the big fish in a small pond until his former friend and fierce competitor ‘Bad’ Billy Robinson (Robert Krantz) returns home for a major racing event. Promoted by a slimy business man and enamored with his celebrity, Billy’s arrival signals a major shakeup in Rick’s life both professionally and on a personal level. Before long Billy has taken Cindy from Rick along with the attention and affection of his welcoming home-town crowd.

Left out to dry, Rick is approached by a female star in the racing world. She offers her services as manager, so that the young up and comer may have a legitimate shot at upsetting Robinson at the Super-cross championships in Dallas,TX. As to be expected a romance develops between trainer and athlete that both threatens and then strengthens the duo’s bond before the big event.

Winners Take All is an especially shoddy looking production that is made even cheaper by the awkward inclusion of B-roll footage shot at actual racing events. I was extremely bored at the lame plot developments and the lackadaisical pacing from director Fritz Kiersch, who’s filmography reads like a list of the decade worst movies. His only accurate step was in the casting of Deborah Richter (Cyborg) as the floozy, who dreams of escaping the harsh realities of her small town. This racing flick never revved up, it’s content spinning it’s wheels.

Director: Fritz Kiersch
Stars: Don Michael Paul, Kathleen York, Robert Krantz,

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