Although most people aren’t too thrilled about the prospect of ever getting old, a group of seniors from Taiwan shows us how to do it with panache. Go Grandriders! is a heartwarming documentary about 17 octogenarians who decide to hop on motorbikes (closer to scooters than Harleys) and circumnavigate their island home, a journey of 1,140 kilometers. Most of them undertake this 13-day journey against the wishes of either family or doctor — two are cancer survivors, eight have heart conditions. The cast of characters is varied and delightful, some solemn and thoughtful and others as effervescent as five-year-olds heading to the zoo. And their sense of adventure is certainly catchy. One guy is unfazed after requiring some bandages after tumbling off his bike because he fell asleep while riding.
But the bravery badge goes to the group’s earnest “captain,” a long-retired cop who ends up being hospitalized twice for transfusions because of his bleeding ulcers.
Go serves as a zesty travelogue as the swarm of bikes is filmed scooting through towns and cities, climbing into the mountains, and hugging Taiwan’s scenic coastline. The group travels with a support team that includes nurses who seem to be checking everyone’s blood pressure on a half-hour basis. There are some intimate, almost heart-wrenching moments when these guys drop in at old folks homes to promote a message about remaining vital. The visits to elementary schools are more upbeat, with mobs of excited kids yelling “Grandriders rock!” Although little more than a feel-good crowd pleaser with an obvious theme about “never being too old to live your dreams,” Go is funny, touching, and inspirational. M
Sat., Feb. 2 • Empire #6 • 4:30pm