Thursday, 19 April 2012

Rolling Thunder.

Art work for the poster.

Its 1973, a military plane fly’s into a small Texas airfield where a large excited crowd await its passengers. Disembarking from the plane is two ex prisoners of war that have been locked up and tortured for eight years in a Hanoi prison camp. The first man out is Major Charles Rane; the second is his friend and compatriot Sergeant First Class Johnny Vohden. Following the welcome home speeches both men are hoping to return to the life they left behind. Rane quickly discovers that this is not to be the case, his young son barely remembers him and his wife wants a divorce to marry the local Sheriff.

Major Rane looses his hand!
The inhabitants of the town treat the Major like a celebrity’ presenting him with a handsome red Cadillac convertible and 2555 silver dollars, one for every day he was a captive and one for luck. A gang of criminals lead by the ‘Texan’ breaks into his home demanding that he hands over the silver dollars. Rane refuses and the villains torture him by sticking his hand in the waste disposal unit. Witnessing this barbarous act his wife and son hand over the valuable silver dollars to stop Rane from completely loosing his arm. But this inhuman bunch of degenerates having no compassion what so ever, shoot the wife and boy dead leaving our ex war hero to have hismangled hand replaced by a prosthetic hook. Connecting up with his old Army buddy Vohden they set out to inflict good old-fashioned grindhouse revenge.

Linda Hayes as Rane's groupie.

This ‘back from Vietnam’ revenge thriller is now available on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time and very welcome it is. With a screen play written by Paul Schrader, best known for the screenplay for Taxi Driver (1976) for which this film serves as a great companion piece, and directed by American film director John Flynn it stars the great but underrated William Devane as Charles Rane, the brilliantly smouldering Tommy Lee Jones as Johnny Vohden and one of my own favourite actors James Best as the evil Texan. Reputed to be one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite films and you can see why. A really good American low budget grindhouse thriller, Rolling Thunder (1977) is well worth 99 minutes of your time.

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