Netflix’s “Burn Out” Is The Latest Terrible Motorcycle Movie

It starts at a trackday. It ends…not soon enough.

Burn Out
Netflix's "Burn Out"Netflix

The Netflix original _Burn Out) is a French movie about a racer looking for his big break when he gets sucked into the crime underworld and forced to run drugs on a Ducati 1299 Panigale. No, the film is not inspired by the life of Marco Lucchinelli, if that’s what you’re thinking (too soon?).

In the grand tradition of biker B-movies, Burn Out has a script seemingly written by a film school dropout who knows as little about motorcycles as he does about plot devices and character development.

Tony in Burn Out
Our protagonist, Tony, played by François Civil.Netflix

It's easy to get duped into watching because there's a slew of Ducatis in the movie, including 959 and 1299 Panigales, an old Monster Dark, a Hypermotard, and a Diavel. There's also a brief cameo by a Kawasaki Ninja H2 and a KTM dirt bike. Some Dainese and Arai product-placement add to the hope that "maybe—just maybe—this one will be different." It isn't.

The film begins at a trackday where our moody protagonist, Tony, draws the attention of a team owner looking for new talent to partner alongside real life ex-racer Chris Walker (who does not appear in the film). After Tony’s invited to a tryout—because motorcycle racing, like high school cheerleading, depends on shame-based person-to-person comparisons to uncover true talent—he discovers his baby mama has been robbed of $50,000 worth of drugs she’d stashed in her sofa. Tony, the can’t-catch-a-break good guy, is forced to “work nights” for the mustachioed family man who runs the drug game and a sinisterly neck-tattooed henchman.

959 Panigale
Tryouts begin on a “race-prepped” 959 Panigale, complete with taped headlight and rear seat.Netflix

Burn Out commits the usual cardinal sins of biker movies: Ducati V-twin engine noises are replaced with inline-four noises, and a perfectly good Arai XD4 is rendered unsafe after Tony, ironically, uses it to crush a man's skull ("experience—smash!— the Arai—smash!—difference!").

After destroying a perfectly good helmet, our protagonist loses his innocence and loses his way. Perhaps the murdering had something to do with it. But it was a nice helmet. Regardless, the whole thing unravels when Tony gets too "burned out" trying to simultaneously maintain his day job as a forklift operator, become the next Johann Zarco, and run drugs to save his family. So I guess the moral is: Don't bite off more than you can chew, otherwise you'll "burn out." Real deep stuff.

Tony in Burn Out in the gravel trap
Tony’s racing dream ends in the gravel trap.Netflix
Red Ducati
Beautiful motorcycle though.Netflix

Not even Ducatis can redeem a movie this terrible. If you’re looking for motorcycle drama, better stick with watching MotoGP.