Beyond the Law 1993 movie

Beyond the Law – Riding Motorcycles among 90s criminals

Among the many 90s action movies I cherish is Beyond the Law, a 1993 movie I never hear someone talking about, even among cinema fanatics of that era.

Based on a true story, we follow the strange path of justice of young Dan Saxon, a Kansas cop living with traumatic memories of childhood abuse and violence.

Disgusted by the corruption in his office, he accepts the proposal of government agent Conroy Price, who is organizing a coordinated action to cleanse the state of the most dangerous criminal rings.

His task will be to succeed in infiltrating the Jackals, a biker gang under the command of the charismatic and ruthless Blood, who, from his throne/motorcycle, runs huge drug and arms deals.

Dan knows nothing about these gangs’ behavior, just as he knows nothing about motorcycles. Still, luckily, he gets to know mechanic Virgil, a somewhat uncouth and ignorant man who nonetheless offers to help him get into the game.

Initially, as is evident, no one knows and trusts him, but he soon wins the attention and trust of the entire clan, including Blood, thanks to his tough-guy demeanor, who never lowers his head and never gives up a challenge.

Blood and Dan soon become inseparable, with the cop seeming to have more in common with these criminals than the government men led by Price, who continues to have him waiting too long before making arrests.

However, among the ranks of the Jackals, he meets the beautiful and reclusive Renee Jason, a photographer and journalist writing a report on these bikers.

It would be her to open his eyes to the violent and cruel reality of these men, people very close to the guy beating the crap out of him when he was just a kid.

Freedom beyond the law of two-wheelers

I doubt Beyond the Law was a box-office success, as there is no data about it going back to 1993, still I would recommend this movie with all my heart.

First of all, I have always been a fan of Charlie Sheen, despite the many troubles in his private life and the star tantrums that this actor has often demonstrated on the sets of movies and series in which he has participated.

In this case, we can see him in a decidedly different role, a seemingly harmless man with the clean-cut face of the good guy, at least at first, who hides a dark violence inside that stems from the violence he suffered as a child.

Director and screenwriter Larry Ferguson plays on this inner conflict throughout the movie, identifying the character’s transformation from an honest cop to a barbaric anarchist biker.

A metamorphosis we can most understand in the two encounters Dan Saxon has with the Native American character Rino Thunder (who sadly died that same year), who, not coincidentally, recounts to him the disturbing legend of the boy who loses his shadow and must face the devil to regain it.

Yet Ferguson keeps a playful glee perfectly in line with many 90s movies such as Lethal Weapon or Die Hard, successfully entertaining audiences while offering theatrical drama moments and characters nearly sociopathic in behavior.

Obviously, we’re not talking about a cult-like Easy Rider, but despite being a blatantly low-budget production (we’re talking not even $20 million), there’s excellent care in the overall quality of the photography and costumes in reconstructing this two-wheeled micro-world.

A world made up of people living far from the so-called “normal society,” riding free on their motorcycles to the rhythm of exceptional rock music such as songs by Asphalt Ballet or Saigon Kick.

Low budget yet high cast

As mentioned, Charlie Sheen delivers an excellent performance as Dan Saxon. Indeed, I would go so far as to say he does not appear lesser, even against more famous movies with a deeper plot, such as Wall Street or Platoon.

While we cannot say how true Saxon is to the actual cop who inspires this story, we are literally fascinated by this character who is utterly unpredictable in his descent into madness.

A descent that goes hand in hand with the constant challenge of his friend/enemy Blood portrayed as usual brilliantly by Michael Madsen, a famous face in those days since just the year before he was the crazed killer/robber torturing cops in Quentin Tarantino‘s Reservoir Dogs.

This duel perfectly supports the charisma of two actors like Madsen and Sheen, for example, when the former challenges the latter to ride his motorcycle into a bar full of their equally crude and violent redneck enemies, a fun scene culminating in a vast general all-out brawl.

Equally successful and complementary to the plot are the characters of Virgil, with the dirty but loyal face of Leon Rippy, against the clean face of the law of the cunning and exploitative Conroy Price, played by Courtney B. Vance.

These two very different men are the benchmark for Saxon, as they are the only ones who know his true identity and mission, besides, of course, the brave reporter, played by the beautiful Linda Fiorentino.

While her character may seem just an excuse to insert some romance, her sexy and mysterious presence brings some femininity to what otherwise would have been a story solely between alpha males snarling at each other.

I really hope that some of you will want to give this old 1993 movie a chance, perhaps fans of the more recent Sons of Anarchy series, whose spirit they can essentially revisit in Beyond the Law, though obviously focusing more on entertainment but not even leaving out some good psychological insight. In short, a movie that may not excel at anything in particular but has a little bit of everything in it to keep everyone happy.

Beyond the Law 1993 movie
Amazon Prime Video
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