Hotwire (1980) Poster

(1980)

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8/10
An enjoyably silly redneck car chase romp
Woodyanders4 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Strother Martin, that late, great grizzled ol' fuddy dud character actor supreme, has himself a field day in this giddy, rambunctious, footloose and fancy-free downhome drive-in comedy about the colorfully seedy shady and unscrupulous subculture of automobile repossession. It's a sort of Southern-fried "Repo Man" set in the Texas sticks. Strother delivers a splendidly rascally performance as cagey, boozy, lecherous venerable carjacker George "the Weasel" Thorney, who teaches eager, cocksure young buck car thief Billy Ed Wallace (John Terry, who also portrayed the phenomenally drippy and underwhelming bargain basement Robin Hood-like protagonist in the lovably chintzy sword and sorcery clinker "Hawk the Slayer" around the same time) the ropes. Billy Ed gets neck deep in trouble when he falls head over heels in love with a sweet young gal (the fetching Jean Sanders) who belongs to mean, grasping local pimp Bodine (leering chrome dome Lawrence Dobkin), trouble that's compounded when Billy and the Weasel steal Bodine's beloved Roll's Royce. A stock plot for sure, but the breezy tone, Frank Q. Dobbs' brisk direction, a snappy pace, the jubilant country and western score, peppery dialogue ("I stopped buying cars when they stopped making rear ends that pretty"), a neat cameo by Jim Siedow (the Cook in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre") as a cantankerous shotgun-toting yokel, some tasty regional flavoring, and lively turns by George Kennedy in a duel role as a prissy, effeminate car dealer and his brutish, corrupt police chief brother keep "Hotwire" darting along at a nice, steady clip. Strother Martin's hearty, ebullient acting in particular is an absolute hoot -- and so's the whole movie in general.
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1/10
So bad it's good!
451Films5 June 2001
Some films are just bad. Some films are so bad, they're fun to watch. This one is fun to watch. I knew it would be "good" when the box cover promised "George Kennedy in a dual role!" He can't play one role well but two? You bet!
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1/10
Poor George
brando509219 January 2001
That's right Poor George Kennedy (the Oscar winning actor from "Cool Hand Luke") how did your film choices become so poor? All right--Maybe that's a real harsh statement but a movie like this--C'mon! This was another Paragon "Gem" yeah from the same video company who brought you such classics on tape as "Molly and Lawless John" (and by the way according to the preview-"It has it all"-and if that's true I'd hate to see anything with less than "all"--wait! I already did...this piece of junk)and "Psycho from Texas" which I am still trying to understand...There are very few bright spots for me to talk about...if there are any I already mentioned his name...and I am one who really enjoyed "One Armed Executioner"...this movie was written bad and for the most part acted like a high school play..The sound editing was awful (even for low budget) and if they played that "Hotwire" song (the song that plays over the opening title credits)on the radio, let's say...uuummm.. ever...some DJ would lose his job...I can say as a fact that this movie was the worst of 1980 and if I had to go further than that I would say it's more than likely the worst in the past 21 years (and I've seen "The Cell")There was nothing special about the plot in my mind and truthfully while watching it I wondered if the actors in the movie really cared about the parts or I wonder if any of them (besides George Kennedy--who I hope did this movie as a favor or as an easy last film of a contract--or Strother Martin) read the script.To be honest I don't like Nick Cage but I would suggest "Gone in 60 seconds" (Which is not much more but will do wonders if you have seen this one) if you were looking for a good car type film in a heartbeat over this worthless nothing of a movie, at least the cars in that movie were fun to look at which is more than I can say for this movie in general.It's this type of movie that kept low budget movies in the dark for so many years...on this occasion--thankfully so.
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8/10
Car chase fun - good stuff if you don't expect an Oscar winner!
dariosmagata24 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is an obscure but lovable movie filmed in the tail end of the '70s, but not released until 1980.

The surprisingly complicated plot involved a cocky vagabond namd Billy Ed, who gets arrested in put in jail under the watchful eye of Sheriff Harley, played by George Kennedy. The sheriff's brother Farley, a sleazy car salesman (Also George Kennedy) bails him out in exchange for his services as a repo man. Our hero ends up working alongisde the Weasel (Strother Martin in his final role) repossessing cars for Farley, who intentionally sells them to people who can't afford them so that he can repossess them later.

Over the course of doing this, Billy Ed falls in love with a working girl under the command of Bodine, a pimp. Harley knows that Bodine is involved in some illegal activities, but won't arrest him because Bodine lets him have his pick of the women. Farley, on the other hand, hates Bodine because he drives around in an expensive Rolls-Royce that he hasn't paid for. Farley is afraid to repossess the Rolls-Royce because Bodine has dangerous henchmen, and because his brother is quite happy with the current arrangement. This Rolls-Royce becomes a background item throughout the whole film.

In the end, Billy Ed and Weasel decide to get the Rolls-Royce, leading to a wild car chase in which Bodine plunges off the end of a dock, never to be seen again. Unfortunately, by the time our heroes reache Farley's car lot, the Rolls is in pieces, leaving Farley without his prized possession. Billy Ed and Weasel quit, leaving Billy Ed free to be with the woman he loves and Weasel apparently free to keep stealing cars, which he continues to do.

The movie features a great performance by Strother Martin, who looks and sounds perfect for the role. George Kennedy is good too, although a bit exaggerated at times. You can tell it was difficult to differentiate Harley and Farley, but he does fit nicely into both roles. John Terry as Billy Ed is fine, but forgettable - he's the hero, but the surrounding characters steal the show.

Surprisingly, there are at least two original songs, which play over the opening credits and end credits. The movie's low budget doesn't really show through, as it has plenty of car action, a variety of locations including a cool drag racing strip, and good actors. This film is definitely worth seeing just for fun - it may not be for intellectuals and it doesn't have a moral, but it will keep you entertained for 90 minutes. What more can you ask for?
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