Thunder and Lightning (1977)

Contrived good ol’ boy, yahoo nonsense that is taken into overdrive. There really is no need to talk about the story since it is very derivative and just an excuse to put in a lot of smash up car chases.

The filmmakers seem compelled to come up with every southern stereotype they can think of. There is the grizzled, uneducated, overall wearing, backwoods moonshiners. There is also the grubby, beer swilling, uneducated, pick up truck driving rednecks with names like Bubba and Scooter. Then there’s the virtuous, but spunky southern daughter with a accent that is really annoying. There is even a scene where a couple of down home boys jump into a car and shout “yahoo!” as it takes off. It’s all a very one dimensional, uninspired mess that makes you feel completely brain dead after about ten minutes.

The production values aren’t too good. The sound is muffled and there are too many quick cuts making some of the action hard to follow. The whole thing looks rushed and haphazard and simply done to cash in on the success of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT.

Carradine’s performance is much too subdued. He seems to have no energy and is just mouthing his lines. Jackson is pretty, but her personality is much too strong. The only fun piece of casting is Holloway. He plays the main moonshiner and is probably best known as the voice of Winnie the Pooh. This was to be his last film appearance.

The film has a few good moments that are worth mentioning. One is a unique speed boat chase done on a large swamp. There is a segment where a minister preaches his sermon while wrestling with a alligator. There are also hit men who like in PULP FICTION have unusual conversations. Some of the strange topics include too much violence on TV, Captain Kangaroo, and even Norman Vincent Peale. There is also one really good inside joke. Napier is having a fight with Carradine and yells out “Hey as—– knock off the Kung Fu sh–.”