What You Need To Know:
(LLL, VVV, SS, N, A/D) At least 100 obscenities & 20 profanities; close-up, graphic violence & bloody, violent shoot-out ending in 4 murders; fornication; upper-body female nudity; and, some alcohol consumption.
HARLEY DAVIDSON AND THE MARLBORO MAN amounts to just what its title implies: lots of bike action, some by a guy who calls himself “Harley Davidson” (on Harley Davidsons, of course) and a rough, tough cowboy called “Marlboro.”
In the film, shot in Tucson, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, philosophical drifter, Harley (Mickey Rourke), and Marlboro (Don Johnson), an ex-rodeo cowboy, team up to defend their hangout, a favorite bar, from foreclosure. Along the way, they get into more trouble than they want, including breaking the law.
As the film opens in a local pool room, a biker challenges Marlboro, an outsider, on his own turf. They get into a brutal fight, and Marlboro emerges the winner. Shortly, Harley recognizes Marlboro as an acquaintance from the past, and they team up together.
Later, visiting their favorite bar, Harley and Marlboro learn that their bar-owner friends need to raise a few million dollars to forestall foreclosure. In fact, each of those involved agree, “I really love this place,” so Harley suggests robbing a bank to come up with the necessary cash.
All goes well as Harley’s stake-out men confiscate a bank truck and obtain entrance to the bank. Before long, however, when they are taken to the bank head, they realize the bank is a front for organized crime and drug deals, and the chase is on. Even though they escape at first, four hoods dressed in full-length black outfits and armed with machine guns come after them.
As the hoods chase Harley and Marlboro into the bar, they open fire in a horrible no-contest shoot out and completely destroy everything in the place, shattering glass and killing Harley and Marlboro’s four friends in the bar. The rest of the film involves Harley and Marlboro seeking revenge for their friends’ deaths, which they ultimately achieve when they pick off the four hoods; Harley goes back to a life on the road, and Marlboro back to the rodeo.
HARLEY DAVIDSON AND THE MARLBORO MAN is one of those rare movies with no redeeming factors. Robbing a bank to save a bar is not only an absurd rationale for breaking the law, but to justify it, the filmmakers try to equate the bank managers with the mob. Added to this extreme case of anti-capitalist tripe are: over 100 obscenities and profanities; a bare-breasted woman going through erotic, masturbatory gyrations on a cycle; the fornication scenes of Marlboro and his girl friend, an L.A. police officer; and, excessive violence, fighting, shooting, and killing.
Along the way, some gratuitous comments are thrown in to make Harley sound like a provocative, deep thinker as he says things like “Did you ever think there could be something better–like God?” To which Marlboro responds: “You ain’t going to get religious on me, are you?”
The so-called heroes of HARLEY DAVIDSON AND THE MARLBORO MAN, with their glib tongues and violent, immoral lifestyles, do nothing to edify the young people who will see this movie. Quite the opposite, young viewers will be inspired to imitate both heroes as they witness them come through their trials unscathed. Young people need to understand the truth of “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). They need to know that sin has eternal consequences, and such consequences are the reality not portrayed in films like this one.