ANGEL UNCHAINED. American International Pictures, 1970. Don Stroud, Luke Askew, Larry Bishop, Tyne Daly, Neil Moran, Jean Marie, Aldo Ray. Director: Lee Madden.

   You might find this a bit surprising, but Angel Unchained is a minor, if not completely kitschy, gem. Based on the premise of “what would happen if a biker outfit and a bunch of hippies teamed up against a bunch of rednecks,” you might think that this American International exploitation film would be yet another completely forgettable biker film. Solid performances by stars Don Stroud and Larry Bishop as biker buddies, a cameo by veteran character actor Aldo Ray as the local sheriff, and a genuinely heartfelt ending all ensure that this movie roars right along.

   Soon after Angel (Don Stroud) decides to leave his biker outfit and set out on his own, he runs into a situation at a gas station when he witnesses townie rednecks harassing a couple of hippies. Angel decides he’s going to side with the hippies. After all, they weren’t doing anything wrong.

   This leads him straight to the hippie agricultural commune on the outskirts of town, where he falls for Merilee, a local hippie girl (Tyne Daly) and forms a bond with commune leader, Tremaine (Luke Askew). When the townies threaten the commune with annihilation, Tremaine urges Angel to enlist the help of biker leader Pilot (Larry Bishop) and his old crew in order to stave off the redneck horde. So the bikers and the hippies have to learn to work together for a common purpose!

   Add in some both comedic and tragic moments, an Indian medicine man with a penchant for peyote-laced chocolate chip cookies, and some action sequences and you’ve got yourself one genre bending biker-themed, “hippiesploitation” film.

   For those skeptics out there, I’d recommend watching this movie, if for no other reason, for the scene in which Pilot has a polite conversation about the weather with the sheriff (Aldo Ray) right as the bikers and the townies go at it in a parking lot. It’s one of those quirky, completely mesmerizing little scenes that dot so many 1970s low budget productions and one that makes the occasionally overly formulaic Angel Unchained worth seeking out.