Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rolling Thunder (1977)

Dir: John Flynn

Starring: William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, James Best

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Major Charles Rane Is Coming Home To War!

Plot: Major Charles Rane (Devane) comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a war hero. Some greedy thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver dollars from him. In the process they also manage to kill his wife and son and destroy his hand. The Major wants revenge so he enlists the help of his war buddy Johnny (Jones) to meet the thugs in a final showdown.

My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Yes

#3 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 2: The Deuce (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Next to westerns my favorite genre film is probably the "Revenge" picture. It's probably because of all the ass-kicking that usually accompanies them. You've got an easily identifiable motive and lots of great violence. The cool thing is that the set-ups to these types of films can often be just as fun as the pursuit/death of the victims.

Devane (as Major Charles Rane) is terrific in this. His Friend, played by Tommy Lee Jones, is great, too. He doesn't say much...he doesn't have to. Devane returns home after being a POW for 8 years in Vietnam. His wife is bangin' one of his best friends and his son, now 8, was just a baby when he went off to war. Devane keeps his cool. He loves his son. His wife? Well, he couldn't give two shits about her. In fact, after the murder of his wife and son he only mentions his son from that point on. The wife never figures into it. COOL!

James Best (Roscoe from THE DUKES OF HAZZARD)(as Texan) plays the main bad guy who steals from Devane. He's just put Charlie's hand in the garbage disposal (and later while recovering in the hospital he gets fitted for a hook!!! We're definitely into badass territory here)and he's got Charlie and his family hostage. He's trying to get Charlie to tell him where the money is when we get treated to this gem of dialogue:

Charlie's Wife: Charlie. why didn't you tell them?
Texan: I'll tell you why, lady. 'Cause he's one macho motherfucker.

Sweet. It sounds corny, and it is, but it's great in the context of the scene with the actors. Great stuff. Just before

Then later, just before the ass-kicking starts, there's a great and understated scene between Charlie (Devane) and Johnny (Jones):

Charlie: I found them.
Johnny: Who?
Charlie: the men who killed my son.
Johnny: I'll just get my gear.
Charlie: They're in a whorehouse over in Juarez right now. there's the four that came into my home and there's 8 or 10 others.
Johnny: Let's go clean 'em up.

Cue up the testosterone.

The final vengeance scene lasts just a few short minutes and it's satisfying. I was sort of left feeling a little let down by the hype on this one. It's not a truly great film but it's certainly a lot of fun and it's definitely going to be watched again at some point. It's also really neat seeing Jones looking so young and Devane kicking some ass. One of my favorites is in it briefly, Dabney Coleman. A beautiful (though not traditionally) actress, Linda Haynes, pulls out a great job as Charlie's love interest, Linda Forchet. She's terrific, down-to-Earth, smart, and down-right HOT! It's too bad she's only been in 9 films. Outstanding.

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