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Smokey And The Hotwire Gang
Smokey And The Hotwire Gang challenges those brought up on TV Movies. Though released in theaters in 1979, the movie is far dafter than anything you might have slogged through on ABC's Friday Night Movie. Obviously Smokey was titled to lure and confuse those enamored of the Burt Reynolds classic Smokey And The Bandit. Unlike that fun, rollicking film, this Gang talks a lot, features tons of characters you'll never quite figure out, and will simply confound you with its simple yet totally convoluted plot.
OK, I'll admit it, I really was never able to draw much of a bead on character names or motivations, but the movie unfolds a little something like this: Eleanor Brookhurst, AKA 'Hotwire' (Carla Ziegfeld) is like a 'Madam' of stolen high-end cars, (I think) who matches clients with hard-to-find rides. She may like to fix people up with other types of 'rides' too, if you catch my drift, since she seems to hang out at Swinger's parties a lot. Somehow she gets mixed up with a couple of dudes who just like to drive fast and confound the cops. Another pair of gents seems content to hijack a nifty van every once in a while, while a slick gangster and his minions are intent on robbing an armored car. Luckily, there's a goofy Sheriff (Alvy Moore) and his friend Jr. Tedo (Skip Young) on the case. I think. A couple of professional Hookers who operate from their own RV, attracting truckers, also figure in somehow. There are probably a bunch of other characters, too, though after a certain point it's really hard to tell. Cars drive fast and crash, guns are fired, and Tedo wears an American Flag costume and motorcycle helmet. And so on.
Hitchhiking while carrying your own CB figures in to this complete mess of a movie, but you won't really care about that or any other of the implausibilities, as after about 15 minutes your brain will have jumped out of your skull and fled the scene. Director Anthony Cardoza and writer T. Gary Cardoza want their plot to make sense so badly you can feel their gears grinding, and smell the smoke coming out of their ears. Alas, clumsy cinematography, (really clumsy) a wildly convoluted script for such a simple genre, and inept direction mean you'll either spend your hard-earned free time trying in vain to keep up, or will just give in to the thrills, of which there aren't any.
There are nostalgia trip movies worth seeking out, even if only to see how they stand up to your memory. This is not one of them. No one saw it in the first place. If they did, they thought it was horrible. If they revisit Smokey And The Hotwire Gang now, they'll wonder why they were so charitable back in the day. Shiftless, aimless, tortured and inept, this is a cash-in movie thrown together quickly and without much thought. The DVD presentation reflects such, as it is pretty comparable with a Mill Creek Entertainment DVD, simply mastered from an old, damaged print. In general, Skip It.
Smokey And The Hotwire Gang is presented by the Peter Rodgers Organization and MVD Visual in a 4 x 3 full frame transfer that features soft details, damage to the print, semi-washed-out colors, and compression artifacts (such as posterizing) to boot. Such a transfer manages to irk most viewers even on one of those 50 movies for 12 bucks collections.
English Mono Audio is overly quiet and muddy. Sadly, your ears will adjust and you'll be able to discern the lame dialog soon enough.
This throwback DVD sports Chapter Selections as the sole extra.
Smokey And The Hotwire Gang reps a quickie money-grab on the back of the vastly superior Smokey And The Bandit. The convoluted plot will confuse and bore you at the same time, while the pure ineptitude found in the cinematography and direction only serves to aggravate. If you must own every trucker movie ever made, or saw this as a child and will die if you can't relive the experience, knock yourself out. Since this barebones DVD also looks and sounds awful, it really deserves only one treatment: Skip It.