Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: White Line Fever (1975)

I'm a big fan of a sub-genre that I lovingly refer to as "movies on wheels" even though I'm not as keen on the modern fare.  It's not that I want to endanger stunt drivers, but CGI shenanigans are no much for legitimate vehicular carnage.  Regardless, there are some wonderful pictures from the 60s and 70s which feature determined heroes waging war behind the wheel.  White Line Fever scores a bit of a 70s trifecta as it deftly interweaves a movie on wheels with a trucker flick and a vigilante yarn.  Individually, these themes were very popular at the drive-in, and they mix well in this fast-paced action flick starring Jan-Michael Vincent as Carrol Jo Hummer--which is surely either the best or worst name anyone could dream up for a heroic trucker.  I always thought JMV was a worthy performer and this might have been his best role.  His rig, the "Blue Mule" is also deserving of props, and Kay Lenz was a perfect fit for the part of the blushing bride--or something like that.  Slim Pickens, R. G. Armstrong, and Dick Miller join Martin Kove in rounding out the cast, which is a fine assembly of actors and actresses.  The score is a sound example of the honky-tonk boogie that fueled pictures like White Line Fever and the script is easy to fall for despite its contrived nature.  The Arizona scenery is fantastic to behold and the various car chases, shootouts, and fisticuffs that drive the film are executed well.  There's also a potent dose of drama in the mix, and anyone who likes a story about a determined individual sticking it to the man will enjoy Carrol Jo Hummer's tale as much as I do.  It's not perfect and it may not be easy to find, but I think White Line Fever is one of the finest movies on wheels to race across the silver screen.

Final Grade: B+
Carrol Jo shows us the proper way to handle being pulled over by the police.

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