Billy Jack is a half-Indian/half-white ex-Green Beret who is being drawn more and more toward his Indian side. He hates violence, but can't get away from it in the white man's world. Pitting the good guys, the students of the peace-loving free-arts school in the desert vs. the Democratic bad guys in the near-by town, the movie plays definitive late-60s themes/messages: anti-establishment, make love not war, the senseless slaughter of God's creatures, the rape of society (figuratively and literally), two-sided justice, racial segregation and prejudices.Written by
Nic Cage <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Granted, I'll admit that this movie, or many movies of the same period, are not going to win an Oscar or anything. It wasn't intended to be a box office runaway, or a cash cow. It was meant to make a statement. I was fairly young by the time this came out, but even by then, I'd found many things in my own life that I'd identify with in this movie. First, I'm half Cherokee, and went through the whole biased, racist, "halfbreed" garbage myself, and still do on a rare occasion. Secondly, I'm a martial artist, albeit of a much different style than the Hapkido studied by Tom Laughlin and the character of Billy Jack. Thirdly, I'm what would be termed a hippie. This movie made a very powerful statement about what racism, as far as pertains to Native Americans, was and can still be like in this country today. It made a statement about the hippie movement, which 99.99% of its detractors have no idea what its about, or why we did it and continue to do it. So you can tell there's a stuntman that takes Tom's place in the park. Big deal. MANY movies, especially of that era, have similar "problems" with the suspension of disbelief. The thing you have to remember is that this is a MOVIE. Yes, its supposed to give the surrealism of watching something in real life, but we know its a movie. Enjoy the story for the sake of the story. Don't nit pick each and every little detail and flaw. Ever seen those movies with the cars driving down a wet road at night, and you can see the reflection of the car headlights, and the trails they leave on the lens of the camera? Of course you have. This is something that will distract the nit picker but won't mean much of anything to someone trying to enjoy the story. Besides, nobody's perfect. You've got to be who you are, what you are, and all that is revolved around what turns you on, not in a sexual sense, but "turned on" as in "makes you tick." So what if Fox was the original bankroller of the film? They obviously didn't KEEP bankrolling it. The quality is terrible, by today's standards, yes. In 1971 though, the quality was actually very good by comparison. The acting was, as someone said, very natural. You weren't thinking of looking at actors trying to be someone else, you had the sense of these people being exactly who they were supposed to be in most cases. Again, not Oscar material, but it flowed smoothly enough, I think, that overall, the effect was successful. There's so much more I could say, but I'll get off the soapbox now and hush. The lesson is its a film, enjoy it for what it is. If you think you can do better, don't talk, do. Then you can rattle on about what is "so ridiculous" and what isn't.
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