New documentary is a full-throttle celebration of motorcycling
On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter, continues the saga of one of the world’s great love stories: the one between a man and his motorcycle. The documentary by Dana Brown captures the enduring romance of the two-wheeled machine. Dana Brown is the son of legendary director Bruce Brown, who directed the original, iconic On Any Sunday (1971). The new movie takes the subject a step further. focusing on many different arenas that help the viewer realize just how far the influence of the motorcycle has spread.
The freedom that riders get from motorcycles is the main theme, revealed again and again in a wide range of locations, from a frozen lake in the middle of British Columbia to the busy streets of Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City.
Brown says that another big draw of the motorcycle is the sense of community and camaraderie that riders share, in addition to their love of free-spirited adventure. And the man-moto love affair is one that captivates not only able-bodied 20-somethings who are willing to risk injuring themselves. The motorcycle truly is a siren that calls both to small kids and to old men who are fast approaching, or even speeding past 70.
Celebrated Australian stunt rider Robbie Maddison, who is featured in the film, was more than happy to tell about the attraction that he feels toward his bike.
Maddison says that his four-year-old son has aspirations of riding dirt bikes and “being like Daddy” when he grows up, unlike the usual preschooler who wants to be a firefighter or an astronaut. Maddison told me that he wants to let his kids “live life to the fullest,” but all his four-year-old talks about is riding dirt bikes, so whether he lets his son go down his path is another question. Plus, Robbie’s wife, Amy, might blow a gasket if she has to nurse her son through the same injuries that her husband has suffered.
What Brown’s film does perfectly is show the intensity of the motorcycling world. Of course riding a motorcycle takes a lot of skill. There is little room for error. Mistakes in operation and judgment can lead to broken bones and worse. This brings up another aspect of the motorcycle's aura: fear.
Maddison points out that the original daredevils of the early and mid-20th century were commonly seen as “druggies” or people who simply didn’t care about their well-being. However, Maddison insists that such an image could not be further from the truth.
Amazingly, Maddison, who has accomplished such feats as ascending to the top of the Arc de Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas before jumping back down, and executing a back flip across the Tower Bridge in London, does feel fear. He just blocks it out until after he is done with whatever insane stunt he is hell-bent on completing. He confides that when his self-preservation instinct is telling him not to do anything crazy, he puts that instinct in its place and says, “Let’s do the jump first and then we can have a discussion.”
Maddison refuses to give in to his doubts or to the aches and pains of his surgically repaired body. In the movie, Maddison launches himself off an Olympic ski jump in Park City, Utah. Beforehand, he says, his recently surgically repaired back tightened up on him. Luckily, the doctor who had operated on him, sports chiropractor H. Rey Gubernick, better known simply as Dr. G, was there to massage him and alleviate the tightness in his back, allowing Maddison to complete his stunt.
The enthusiasm of a rider like Maddison is not lost on Dana Brown, who celebrates the daredevil’s genuine love of stunt riding. It is rare to see a grown man so clearly in awe of another man’s passion. He says that cynics might call him a “cheerleader,” but defends himself by saying, “maybe [I am], but you hang out with the guy [Maddison] and tell me you don’t come away with the same thing.”
Fortunately for those who love the world of motorcycles and everything that it encompasses, Robbie Maddison is joined on screen by other big names in the two-wheel world. We meet motorcycle enthusiasts such as Jake McCullough, an amateur amputee rider who races on a flat track with a prosthetic specially designed and made by motorcycle racing legend Mert Lawwill, and such world-renowned racers as 2014 MotoGP world champion Marc Márquez. You come away from the film with the clear message: For these devotees of the sport, the motorcycle symbolizes life. For them, the motorcycle is life.