Mean Johnny Barrows (1976)

Drummed out of the US Army for slugging his CO Capt. O’Malley, Aaron Banks, Johnny Barrows, Fred Williamson, drifts into town looking for a job ending up instead beaten and robbed by a couple of homeboys as soon as he leaves the bus.

Picked up by the cops thinking that he’s a homeless drunk, homeless yes drunk no, Johnny gets worked over again at the jail house until the precinct captain who recognized Johnny as a star high school and collage football player, and decorated Vietnam War Vet, intervenes. At first Johnny is nothing but a shell of his former self going around town looking for a job as well as a free meal. While on skid row Johnny runs into Elliott Gould playing the part of a hobo wise-man who’s name, Prof.Theodore Rasputin Waterhouse, is longer then the part that he has in the movie. We see Theodore teach Johnny the fine points of living and surviving on the streets by getting a unsuspecting soul, at a hot-dog stand, to share his frankfurter with him and Johnny.

Johnny had earlier gotten to know Mafiso bigwig Mario Racconi, Stuart Whitman, when he tried to get a free meal of spaghetti and meatballs at his restaurant which Mario overruled his angry chef, Jan J. Madrid, and gave him. Johnny also met Mario’s girlfriend Nancy, Jenny Sherman, who took a strange liking to the wandering and homeless vet. It’s when Mario offered Johnny a job as a hit-man for his organization he respectfully turned it down having done enough hit’s in Nam then he would like to remember.

Still out to make an honest living Johnny ends up cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors at Richard’s, R.G Armstrong, gas station but the cheap and ungrateful Richard, after Johnny broke his back working for him, gives Johnny a measly 21 dollars that comes out to something like .70 a day, for the month that he was employed by him. This leads Johnny to lose his cool and Richard to lose a couple of his teeth. Ending up again at the jail-house Johnny is set free with the help of the Racconi mob who got the now scared to death Richard to drop all charges against Johnny.

Mario together with his father Mafia Don Racconi, Luther Adler,had been gunned down by the rival De Vince Mob at a meeting of the minds between the two gang leaders about the trafficking of deadly and illegal drugs on the streets of L.A which Don Racconi was deathly against. With Mario surviving the shoot-out, his father Don Racconi didn’t, he gets Johnny to agree to hit the De Vincie mob as a favor to him and Nancy whom Johnny has since fallen in love with.

Knocking off the entire De Vince Mob that included Don De Vince, Anthony Caruso, and his young and schmucky son Tony, Roddy McDowall, Johnny didn’t realize that Tony was actually Nancy’s man! Tony was planning with Nancy to get his father’s and the Racconi Mob to kill each other off and then take take off with Nancy and both mob’s assets to Mexico.

During the final stages of warfare with the De Vince mob Johnny come to battle it out again with the former Capt. O’Malley Johnny’s old Army CO, who got him canned out of the service, who’s now a martial arts hit man for the De Vincie’s. O’Malley was no pushover using karate and judo tactics on Johnny but in the end Johnny get’s the upper hand by returning a deadly flying star back to O’Malley throat.

The ending of “Mean Johnny Barrows” was a bit confusing not that Johnny was doubled-crossed by Nancy, whom we already knew was two-timing him, but the way Nancy was finished off seemed a bit out of place; stepping on a land mine in lovely and crime-free Malibu?

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