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Returning from a stint in the Air Force, Carrol Jo Hummer borrows money to buy a truck, hoping to make enough money hauling produce to marry Jerri Kane and set up housekeeping. He discovers that the long-haul business is run by racketeers and decides to fight the corrupt forces that control the trucking business. Written by
In the scene where Jeri and Carroll argue in the pickup, and Jeri gets out of the truck and walks down the sidewalk while Carroll pleads with her to get back inside, the shadow of the boom mic from the camera car in front of the pickup can be seen at the bottom left of the screen. See more »
This is gritty 70's B-movie action at its best. The CB radio craze was at its height when this movie first came out (I saw it on a double bill with "Jaws" at an outdoor)and the country was fascinated by the lives of long distance truckers. There were also a lot of violent films portraying the "little guy" sticking up for himself against the powers that be. These concepts coalesce in this fast-paced and tough action movie.
Carroll Jo Hummer is an independent long haul trucker whose whole life is tied up in two things: his wife and his truck The Blue Mule. He's no angel but he knows corruption when he sees it. When his greasy boss Duane (good ol' boy Slim Pickens) puts the arm on Hummer to deliver illegal cigarettes and slot machines, Carroll Jo refuses to go along. In doing so, he becomes an inspiration to other wildcat truckers looking to buck the system but he also becomes the target of a vicious campaign of intimidation endorsed by the corporate slimeballs in their ivory towers.
There's fist-fighting, road racing and down and dirty dialog galore as Hummer's war with his enemies escalates to "Walking Tall" levels. The concluding image of the Blue Mule smashing the glass emblem of the corrupt corporation is iconic.
This is a B-movie for sure and no Oscar contender, but the lives of the truckers are portrayed with some grit and realism. There's some breath-taking footage of cross-country journeys, particularly in a snowy Utah, and there's hardly a dull moment. Jan-Michael Vincent does fine as Hummer and it may be one of the best roles of his career (he did all his own stunts).
And how can you go wrong with a 70's cast that includes L.Q. Jones, Dick Miller, R. G. Armstrong, Don Porter, Kay Lenz, Sam Laws and Slim Pickens? Only obvious signs of sloppiness were a couple of shots where the boom mike or its shadow are visible. That's a minor quibble. If you're looking for a hell-raisin' bare knuckled story that pits a tough man against the odds, chances are this is what you are looking for.
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