John Travolta is a downtrodden single father raising his daughter under difficult circumstances in Chicago. The young girl comes upon and then nurses a wounded Doberman used for fighting, ... See full summary »
'China Lake' is a great short movie that photographer-turned- director Robert Harmon, who later became well-known with 'The Hitcher' (1986), self-financed, wrote, produced, shot and directed over the course of a couple of years in the early 1980s. The preparation of the shoot took many months as Harmon was looking for the perfect locations to stage his road thriller and he succeeded. The final cut of the movie includes plenty of beautiful footage with fascinating lighting.
The short movie stars Charles Napier ('Rambo: First Blood Part II,' 1985) as maniac cop Donnelly, whose vacation activities each year include going on a vicious killing spree on the desert highways around the small town of China Lake. Donnelly's motorcycle rides through the desert are shot masterfully by Harmon and feature a number of scenes filmed from unusual camera angles.
'China Lake' must have impressed certain people in the film industry as it got Harmon the directing job for 'The Hitcher,' and it was also remade a couple of years later as a full-length television movie by the name of 'The China Lake Murders' (1990). In the remake, Charles Napier's character is played by Michael Parks ('From Dusk Till Dawn,' 1996), who is great in the role of the maniac cop. Napier's portrayal of Donnelly is very different from Parks' character in the television movie but equally charismatic and frightening in a different way.
'China Lake' is a very ambitious short movie that is as close to perfect as shorts get.
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