Home TV Shows Reviews ‘The Ride’ (2023) Prime Video Series Review - Unexceptional and Largely Unexciting

‘The Ride’ (2023) Prime Video Series Review - Unexceptional and Largely Unexciting

The docuseries follows the lives of some of the top Professional Bull Riders, exploring their daily routines and experiences in the world of Professional Bull Riding

Vikas Yadav - Tue, 30 May 2023 05:11:39 +0100 3816 Views
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While watching The Ride, one thing that caught my attention was the way the riders expressed themselves. Take, for instance, how Eli Vastbinder talks about his wife and kids and life. His voice is calm and mature. His eyes are soft as if they have become immune to all the harshness of reality. There is another rider who teaches his kid horse riding. He, too, sounds gentle and polite. I suddenly realized why I hate most of the new documentaries. There, the talking heads are phlegmatic. They, like robots, speak mechanically. They take the fun out of even the most interesting subject and leave you unsatisfied. Perhaps, the filmmakers helming those documentaries intended to present facts "fluently." What they don't realize is that the fluency gave rise to unemotional articulations. It became almost tiring to listen to those talking heads/interviewees.

In The Ride, however, the talking heads are allowed to share their experience through an intimate lens. They speak from memory instead of dispensing words lifelessly. When a man talks about a rider named Chase Outlaw, you detect traces of reverence in his voice. He makes you believe that you cannot talk about someone as proficient as Chase casually. And Chase is someone you would call "the real deal." He is energetic, strong, and daring. Here is a man who returns to bull riding after suffering from a facial fracture, and that too at the age of thirty. Thirty is the age when most players consider retirement. Chase, though, is not like most players. He is enthusiastic about this dangerous sport and wouldn't mind risking his life for it.

You can call a man like Chase crazy. But then, you have to be nutty to be in love with this hazardous physical activity. Notice how a bull moves when a rider sits on it. The animal jumps erratically, and if you lose your balance, you could face fatal injuries. The players are often thrown in the air, and they land on the ground with a thud. Sometimes, they get up without much struggle. While sometimes, they end up breaking their ribs or knees. Despite all the perils, the riders return to the arena and try to ride the bull for eight seconds to achieve victory. The players find purpose in this sport, the ferocious movement of the bull gets their adrenaline going, and their fans love them for their insanity. A man says you need to have a mindset of a warrior to be in this field. I agree.

The Ride not only focuses on the achievements (and failures) of the players. It also contains moments where it observes their personal lives. We are meant to comprehend that these riders not only risk their lives when they ride a bull, but they also risk losing their family. But The Ride never lets sadness dominate the foreground. It merely touches on the subject and almost immediately brushes it aside. Like the players, it's too preoccupied with the thrill that comes from this sport. The excitement drowns any sense of pathos. There are emotional scenes in this series, but their pulse is weak. The Ride injects all its vigor into bull riding footage and reduces other events to footnotes. And yet, these recordings of bull riding become exhausting after a while.

The main issue with the bull riding sequences is that their coverage is dull and basic. The eight crucial seconds are often interspersed with reaction shots, removing tension and exhilaration from the event. When we momentarily view one footage from a top angle, we realize how potent the other sequences could have been. After a few episodes, it all turns into an ear-splitting blur. The Ride is not consistently engaging, and there were moments when I desperately wanted to check my phone instead of looking at the screen. In one of the matches, a significant amount of drama is raised when a team is required to score one point to win. But as soon as the bull starts jumping aggressively, the background is charged with triumphant music, and we instantly intuit that this player will win. Meaning: The suspense deflates quickly. Furthermore, when a woman mentions a domestic violence incident involving a gun, we hear gunshots in the soundscape, and I found that very distasteful.

All in all, if you like bull riding, you might enjoy watching The Ride. If you don't know or don't care about it, the series will do nothing to change your mind. It's unfortunate, however, that this series about a parlous game gets a treatment that is safe, unexceptional, and largely unexciting.

Final Score- [5/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times



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