|Index||3 reviews in total|
This Texas-made tale of corruption, greed and Mafia vengeance tries for a
number of parallel stories that culminate in two scenes of action and
violence. This is itself is admirable, as most modestly budgeted films of
this type are lucky to accomplish a single storyline. The umbrella story
of Steve King, financed by The Mob, attempting to open a direct "sno-line"
between Texas and New York (contrary to the Tagline on IMDB, he is not a
"District Attorney"). The first arc is that of a number of King's
attempting various heists on their boss' holdings. Second occurs when a
rival of King wants him eliminated from his Texas Coast territory. The
involves the appearance of a mysterious con-woman and her manipulation of
King into being his confidant and co-hort.
The production employs a number of reliable mid-card and B-movie performers, including stalwart Vince Edwards as King, man-mountain Paul Smith as a West-Indies drug smuggler, and the voluptuous June Wilkinson as King's new consort. The dialog is smart, with detail given to the procedures of both the smuggling operations and the employee thefts.
What I find most interesting is that there are no "good guys" in the traditional sense: all are basically corrupt...there are just some that are "more" corrupt than others. The audience is almost forced to support the least heinous of the various culprits, and the film makers want viewers to identify with the young couple who carry a suitcase full of money stolen from King (the fact that the boyfriend's actions lead to the killing of all his friends appears to be irrelevant). There are crosses and double-crosses, all handled with a deftness that belies scrutiny. There are ingenious twists; the final two scenes will leave a smile on the audience's face.
Recommended for fans of regional film making, June Wilkinson and Paul Smith.
The idea of a drug connection in Southeast Texas is not unique. But, some of the characters (James "Bubba" Busceme, Gary Lee Love, "Bones") made the film a lot more interesting to watch. Other than that the film is sort of slow developing. The action in the swamp and the street chases with the police are great, though. The plot is easy to figure out and the outcome is predictable. This film is easy to watch if one is from Beaumont, Texas (where the film was shot). But, other than that....it's mostly a middle of the road variety.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Steve King (Edwards) is a New York gangster that moves to Beaumont,
Texas, figuring he can bring his street smarts to an unsuspecting
criminal underworld in a different part of the country. Shortly after
the movie begins, there's an on-screen title that reads: "One Year
Later" for no discernible reason. He wants to build a "sno-line" from
Houston to El Paso, controlling the cocaine racket. He also has a
casino and there are corrupt Senators on the take.
Meanwhile a rival gang, headed by the bearded Kenny Loggins lookalike Bedford, wants to move in on the action. They have listening devices everywhere, including at the table at the country club where King hangs out. One of the members of the rival gang, Michael (Carey Clark) wants to just escape with his girlfriend with some stolen money. So it's gangsters chasing after gangsters, and Michael running away, and cops chasing them all. Who will escape? In director O'Neons' only directorial effort, he brings us a very 80's subject. Cocaine and the people behind this drug trade. It's always fun to see Vince Edwards but the problem is this film has no heroes. You don't really root for him, Bedford or Michael to succeed. This is one of the main failings of the film. You don't really care what happens to anyone because they are all bad guys. Of course, King's assistant Gus (Louis Guss) is the most likable one, as the wisecracking old-school Italian schlub. Burt Young also could have played this role.
King hides his operation through a milk-delivery company called "King's Dairy". He delivers the coke in the milk and also collects on his gambling debts. Clever innovation. This leads to a mob war in the bayou with some good-ole-boys. King and Gus travel the back swamps in their boat named the "Fungus". A movie highlight involves Duval (Paul L. Smith) and an alligator. We won't give it away.
There are some more fights, chases and double crosses, most of which the audience is indifferent towards, even though some involve King's main lady Audrey (Wilkinson). It quickly devolves into a Dukes of Hazard episode. While the idea of a mob man dealing coke and doing mob things in Texas is pretty novel, Sno-Line lacks a certain energy and cohesiveness that would have helped considerably. We love the low-budget attitude, and all the 80's fashions alone make it watchable. Released on VHS in the U.S. on the great Lightning Video label, Sno-Line is the type of movie if you see somewhere you should pick up, but it's not necessary to go out of your way to try and find.
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