The Losers (1970)

Also known as ‘Nam Angels, this Jack Starrett-directed film (he also made Run, Angel, Run!Race with the Devil and Hollywood Man, among others) has a great high concept: a biker gang called The Devil’s Advocates are sent to Cambodia to rescue an American diplomat because they’re the only ones who can get the job done.

They’re led by Vietnam vet — and the brother of the Army Major who has recruited them — Link Thomas, who is played by the always dependable William Smith. They’re under the orders of Captain Johnson (Bernie Hamilton, who was Captain Harold Dobey on Starsky and Hutch) and include fellow vets Duke (Adam Roarke from Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Frogs) and Dirty Denny, as well as Limpy (Paul Koslo, Vanishing Point) and Speed (Eugene Cornelius, who was Space in Run, Angel, Run!).

They head to Vietnam,  but come on, we all know it’s the Philippines, because the mechanic who works on their bikes, Diem-Nuc, is played by Vic Diaz. It doesn’t matter, because by the time you start trying to figure out locations*, our heroes are doing wheelies and blowing things up with rocket launchers and machine guns while they do wheelies.

This movie does have some basis in reality. Sonny Barger, who was the Maximum Leader of the Hells Angels, sent LBJ a telegram offering the skills of his club in the Vietnam War. That inspired Alan Caillou, who originally wrote that The Losers would live. Starrett and Smith rewrote the script to the ending we know now.

If you watch Pulp Fiction, you can see a scene from this movie, being watched by Butch’s girlfriend the day after his fight. When he asks what she was watching, she says, “A motorcycle movie, I’m not sure the name.”

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

*They’re reused from Too Late the Hero.

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