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A malicious motorcycle gang harasses the residents of a small California town, intimidating most residents to not report them to the police. Among the gang's crimes is the rape of four young women. As the gang attempts to threaten the women into not testifying at the indictment hearing, one of the women, Vicki, comes under the protection of Billy Jack, who has also had several altercations with the gang. The gang escalates their pressure on both Vicki and Billy Jack to keep her out of the courtroom. Written by
Warren Anderson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Loner Billy Jack (Tom Laughlin), just returned from Viet Nam, pits himself against a vicious motorcycle gang who are terrorizing a California town, protecting a rape victim and standing alone when even the police are reluctant to act.
This is one of the best of its kind. Made on a shoestring budget the tight storyline allows for few frills but plenty of classic hero and villain tension. In-your-face violence for its time, only a little martial-arts action (compared to the later BJ films) but all the ingredients are on hand for a character who is destined to become an American screen icon.
The nattering nabobs can kavetch about bad acting until their faces turn blue---Billy Jack is what he is, and Laughlin plays him to perfection. Particular credit goes to veteran actor Jeremy Slate as the complicated, arrogant gang leader, and again to Laughlin, for writing the part. Laughlin's villains have an element of sympathy. They may be monsters, but they have reasons for the way they behave and this makes them more human.
Look for an early walk-on by Laughlin's wife and later screen partner Delores Taylor (also his executive producer and co-writer)and their son and daughter (she would have a substantial role in following BJ flicks).
Also on hand is one of our favorite heavies, Robert Tessier as CueBall, sporting thick dark hair before he adopted his well-known shaved-head look. Tessier, a military vet and stunt man, was also the stunt adviser for the film.
Classic hero defending his girl against despicable bad guys makes for ONE TERRIFIC MOVIE. If you like this one check out BILLY JACK and DEFIANCE (Jan-Michael Vincent).
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