Directed by: Burt Reynolds
Now this is my kinda Burt Reynolds flick. Just a total badass in this.
Right in the beginning you see him bash a bar patrons head into the bar 2 or 3 times because he was being an ass with the bartender. And he literally just got out of prison after being locked up for 7 years! So right away you know he doesn't give a fuck.......about anything.
I have to say, I really enjoyed this one. This is my second Burt Reynolds flick this week and this is the kind of movie I wish he had made more of, as opposed to the Smokey and the Bandits and the Cannonbal Runs. But hey, they made the most money and paid the bills. As I was watching this, I still could "not" believe Heat came out the very next year for a number of reasons. He looked 40 pounds heavier, 10 years older and the movie looked like it was made-for-tv. I just still can't believe it. But anyway!
It's movies like Gator, Sharkey's Machine and Stick that get me the most excited about Burt Reynolds. All 3 I should mention he directed himself. First thing I have to say is this guy can direct a movie. I'm shocked and saddened that he never really took off as a director like say, Clint Eastwood. Because he definitely has the talent and delivers the goods. I've read that he can be difficult, but who isn't when they are passionate about a project? This came out in '85, and they just don't make movies like this anymore. Filmmaking, especially in the action genre, was done in such a simpler way back then. I really wish directors these days took there cue's from 80's action directors. Even the guys still around who were directing these movies back then have changed there style and it bothers me soooooo much. I'm talking about Renny Harlin, Tony Scott and John McTiernan right off the top of my head.
He plays Ernest "Stick" Stickley, an ex-con who just got out of prison after serving 7 years for armed robbery. He immediately hooks up with an old buddy and gets talked into a drug run. Like i'm talking immediately out of prison. He doesn't get to shower or enjoy his first night on a comfortable bed or anything. No, he gets out of prison, hops a train, meets up with his old buddy in Florida and gets talked into a drug run that of course goes sour. His buddy gets killed, Stick barely escapes with his life, but he's of course really pissed off. He knows who his buddy was working for and who inevitably ordered the hit on him. So he eases his way into this drug trafficking world hoping to get a chance to get close to Chucky, the guy who his buddy worked for and ordered the hit. In the meantime he's trying to reconnect with his teenage daughter and start a romance with a financial expert who works for his new boss, a rich tycoon who loves hanging around thugs.
It's a pretty straightforward and simplistic plot and it works well for this kind of movie. Burt Reynolds plays cool and tough like nobody's business. He is just a badass in this. I mean, who else could pull off wearing a pink Members Only jacket throughout this movie and still look manly. Nobody else but Burt in my opinion. Charles Durning as Chucky is amusing as hell. He's supposed to be a villain, but looks so ridiculous you just can't take the guy seriously. It was cool seeing the legendary stuntman Dar Robinson in an acting role as one of the bad guys. The "albino" bad guy to be exact. I wonder if those were his real eyes or if he wore contacts? He's big, mean, and cold as shit here. He's such a legend in the movie stunt world and it's a shame we lost him so early in a motorbike accident shortly after this movie in '86.
The movies good, but not without it's faults. It doesn't really seem to have enough action for an "action fan's" taste. And that seemed to be an issue with the studio heads as Burt fought continuously with them through the production of this movie. There are a few in there, but not nearly enough. And the movie is written by Elmore Leonard, novelist of "Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Out of Sight and Be Cool" fame, who based it off his book. He apparently was so unhappy with the end result of the movie that he disowned it completely. And I don't blame him. Considering where the source material came from, the film should have had a harder edge. Bu when looked at as a product of it's time, it's not really that bad. It's slow, but never really boring. Reynolds is charming throughout, even funny at times, and it keeps things going smoothly. His direction is tight and the actors all bring something to the table. Except Candice Bergen. She seems completely wasted here, barely having any screen time, considering her talents.
Another topic of interest. Burt made this after he made "City Heat" with Clint Eastwood. In "City Heat" he broke his jaw while filming a fight scene when a metal chair was thrown into his face. He subsequently had to have his jaw wired shut and was on an all liquid diet. Because of this he ended up losing somewhere around 30 pounds while going into production on this. At the time I remember seeing on all the entertainment shows and the news that everyone thought he had AIDS and that's why he was so thin. They claimed he was gaunt, weak and dramatically losing weight. I just don't see it. His face looks a little thinner than usual, but other than that, the guy is still in great shape physically. I guess there always "looking" for a story.
Overall it's a great movie. Simple and fun. And as I keep saying, they just don't make them like this anymore.