By Richard Winters
My Rating: 3 out of 10
4-Word Review: The song is better.
Trucker Martin ‘Rubber Duck’ Penwald (Kris Kristofferson) battles corrupt Sheriff Lyle ‘Cottonmouth’ Wallace (Ernest Borgnine) by getting his fellow truckers to band together and form an unstoppable convoy that stretches for miles and soon creates a national media frenzy.
The film’s setup is weak and the ending even weaker. It has all the good-ole-boy/trucker clichés without adding anything new in the process and makes Smokey and the Bandit look brilliant and inspired. Kristofferson is much too laid back for a leading man role and cannot carry the picture. Borgnine’s character is portrayed awkwardly. At the start he is made to look like a real jerk of a sheriff who overacts to a minor contrivance that starts the whole thing rolling. Then at the end he turns more sympathetic and even secretly sides with Kristofferson, which doesn’t work at all. In either case Jackie Gleason is a much better actor for this type of role. The worst part about the movie though is director Sam Peckinpah’s attempts to throw in a ‘serious message’ into this silly action flick that does nothing but slow it down and bomb in the process.
The only good scene in the whole film is the fight sequence inside the truck stop restaurant. Peckinpah puts a funny spin to his trademark ‘slow motion’ violence and the result is amusing. Unfortunately he starts putting all the action into slow motion, which eventually becomes tiring. Ali McGraw as Melissa an attractive woman Martin picks up along the way is always a pleasure to look at, but unfortunately she is given very little to say or do.
If you’ve read the synopsis then you have essentially ‘seen’ the movie. The hit song by C.W. McCall that this movie is based on is pretty good and I would suggest listening to that instead and saving yourself 108 minutes of your time. This is all shockingly uninspired stuff for such an otherwise maverick director.
My Rating: 3 out of 10
Released: June 28, 1978
Runtime: 1Hour 50Minutes
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Studio: United Artists
Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video
Great site. A lot of good movie information here. I love cheesy 70’s movies and this film sounds like a perfect movie night for me. Thanks for the review!
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