I can pretty much say that I love motorcycles. And, I’m willing to bet that most of you reading this do as well. They are a huge part of my life and, dare I say, a large part of who I am. Motorcycles have taken me all over the world to see impressive sights, introduce me to new cultures and learn about other parts of the world. I owe a lot to motorcycles.
But what do you think would happen if motorcycles are suddenly outlawed? That’s the question that the purely fictitious film “The Last Motorcycle On Earth” asks.
So what’s the reason for banning motorcycles? The law’s sponsors say that motorcycles (and personally driven automobiles) are dangerous machines that pollute the earth and cost thousands of lives daily. In an effort to preserve the environment and save lives, motorcycles will become illegal in one year. While motorcycles will be banned in one year, personally driven automobiles have a ten-year phase-out period. In their place, autonomously driven vehicles will be available to the general public.
Making things more interesting is that similar laws are in place in countries outside the U.S. The law in those places is bringing predictable results. Some fully appreciate and follow the new law, while others object to it, and some engage in protests, violence, and rioting. Ultimately, The Last Motorcycle On Earth poses some thorny issues. Some are readily apparent, while others “not so much.”
Since I am so vested in motorcycles, I admit I was immediately predisposed to think that the film would be pure garbage. But as I took the time to watch it, I had to acknowledge that perhaps there is more than one side to this story. And that is what so endears this film to me. Both sides are pretty equally presented.
Some might say it’s impossible to present a story without taking sides or being biased towards one viewpoint. But I would suggest that this film’s makers do a pretty good job of keeping things level. Others may feel differently.
Both sides of the story
But that’s what I really like about this film. It poses tough questions. It does it in a way that both “sides” may have to acknowledge some of the other side’s points. It does this by chronicling what happens between a father and son when the law passes and is ultimately upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The father is an “old-time” bike builder named Conrad. He owns and operates a shop called the Motorcycle Merchantile. Conrad’s roots in motorcycling go all the way back to his father. As his pride and joy, the Motorcycle Merchantile hosts other riders to let them work on their bikes inside its doors.
Conrad also has another “occupation. He loves motorcycles so much that he also hosts a small-time Montana radio motorcycle swap-show where people call to offer and sell bikes and bike parts.
Things are quite different for his son Gregory, however. It turns out that the son is the face of a private company called Grid AVN (Autonomous Vehicle Network). He is in charge of implementing the new law banning motorcycles and, ultimately, personally driven automobiles.
He stars in commercials to explain why the law is good and how it will be implemented. Depending on which side of the issue you are on, you may believe that Gregory is a protector of the planet or an evil bureaucrat trying to take your motorcycle and your liberty.
A recipe for violence
The new law is a recipe for violence, and the film recognizes this. The interaction between the father and his son are well framed and believable. Conrad’s fear for his son’s safety comes through loud and clear. Perhaps not as evident is his son Gregory’s fear for the safety of his father, who is the radio voice of dissent. The mutual fear for each other’s safety helps the film portray the humanity of the situation.
In another scene, one of Conrad’s friends starts thinking and perhaps planning violence. In no uncertain terms, Conrad immediately tells the friend that he will have no part in violence. It is clear that he is willing to sacrifice a friendship and perhaps his life’s passion if violence must be involved.
Letting people decide
One of the things that I really liked about this film is that it seemingly refused to take sides. The subject of government control over our movement and potential abuses of where we are and where we go is not a small issue. On the other hand, the effects of internal combustion engines on the environment and the loss of life associated with vehicles powered by them isn’t a small one either.
From my perspective, the film did an excellent job of portraying both sides of the issue without preaching a specific agenda. For me, this film is truly food for thought as opposed to supporting one agenda or another. And that is frankly quite refreshing.
If you’d like to see “The Last Motorcycle On Earth” in its entirety, you can find it and stream it on Amazon. If you decide to watch the entire film, let us know what you thought in the comments below.