Film Review: Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974)

Release Date: May 17th, 1974
Directed by: John Hough
Written by: Leigh Chapman, Antonio Santean
Based on: The Chase by Richard Unekis
Music by: Jimmie Haskell
Cast: Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke, Vic Morrow, Roddy McDowall

Academy Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, 93 Minutes

Review:

“I’m gonna eat your lunch, you long-haired faggot!” – Hanks

Peter Fonda starred in several counter culture and road movies in the late ’60s and into the ’70s. So his casting here was pretty perfect and he owns every scene that he’s in.

However, the bulk of the work isn’t just on Fonda, as we also have Susan George, who is exceptional in this, and Adam Roarke, who I always liked but felt was grossly underutilized. Roarke truly gets to shine in this and it’s damn cool to see.

The film also has Vic Morrow in it, as a villainous sheriff, as well as Roddy McDowall in a smaller role. However, any McDowall appearance is worth mentioning.

The story is very Bonnie and Clyde-esque, as it follows a criminal that takes his girlfriend and a buddy along with him, as law enforcement closes in, creating a massive on-the-road manhunt.

While I do like this film a lot, it’s pretty slow for the first two acts. I enjoy the characters and the performances are damn good, especially between the main trio, but there seems to be a lot of filler and chatter. Sure, it helps to build up the characters but this didn’t really get to the good stuff until the long, great finale ramped up in the last half hour.

Once this does get going, it’s fucking perfect, though.

I dug the hell out of the vehicle stunts and all the sequences with the helicopter were damn impressive. I never tire on this sort of stuff, especially from this era when filmmakers couldn’t rely on CGI and post-production visual trickery. Everything in these action scenes had to be captured by real film in real time.

All in all, this is a motion picture that is a reflection of its time and that time’s trends. The story and how it plays out may be predictable and leave you with a feeling of hopelessness but the ’70s were a bleak decade and this doesn’t shy away from that.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other counterculture films with Peter Fonda in them.

Film Review: Enter the Ninja (1981)

Release Date: October 23rd, 1981
Directed by: Menahem Golan
Written by: Dick Desmond, Mike Stone
Music by: W. Michael Lewis, Laurin Rinder
Cast: Franco Nero, Susan George, Sho Kosugi, Christopher George

Cannon Film Distributors, 101 Minutes

Review:

Enter the Ninja is the first film in Cannon Films’ Ninja Trilogy. While it is still a pretty entertaining motion picture, it isn’t anywhere near as amazing and bad ass as the studios second effort Revenge of the Ninja.

However, this thing stars Franco Nero, the original Django and one of my favorite actors of all-time. That being said, it is still kind of weird to see the heroic white ninja remove his mask only to reveal a mustachioed buff Italian with dreamy eyes. As much as I love Nero, he just felt weirdly out of place as a ninja. Realistically, that’s probably because I really only associate him as a gunslinging spaghetti western bad ass, as that is certainly what he is most famous for. I do still like Nero in this picture, though. I mean, he’s Franco friggin’ Nero!

The villainous black ninja is played by Sho Kosugi, who would go on to be the hero in Revenge of the Ninja, two years later. He has a lot less screen time in this movie and unfortunately, isn’t as exciting as he would be in Revenge.

The other villain, the evil corporatist crime boss of the Philippines is played by Christopher George, known mostly for westerns and b-movies.

Put out by Cannon Films, this is actually directed by one of the studio heads, Menahem Golan of the infamous Golan-Globus duo.

This film’s plot deals with Nero going to the Philippines after completing his ninja training. While there, he meets up with his old war buddy and his hot wife (Susan George) only to find out that they are being bullied into selling their land to the local evil corporatist. As the film rolls on, Nero disrupts the villains plans and protects his friends. The villain than calls on help from the black ninja, a rival from Nero’s ninja school that hates that a white man has learned the sacred art.

Unfortunately, other than the beginning and the end, there isn’t a lot of ninja action. Most of the time, Nero isn’t even in his costume. Plus, the beginning sequence isn’t a real fight, it is Nero’s final test at his ninja school.

The action is still pretty solid but the ninja action isn’t anywhere near the level of the much superior Revenge of the Ninja. Still, this is a bad ass and entertaining flick for people who are into these sort of pictures.

Enter the Ninja could have been a much better film but we got that with its loose sequel.

Rating: 6.5/10