Three years ago a movie called "White Lightning" told the story of a moonshiner, Gator McCluskey, who was let out of jail so that he could catch some real crooks.Now there is a sequel called "Gator." Again the moonshiner comes out of jail and is set to catch even worse crooks. Again he is played by Burt Reynolds, as bland and wholesome as talcum powder and about as interesting.
"White Lightning" sold well and that was obviously the reason for taking it up again. There doesn't seem to be much of any other reason. It is not a terrible picture, and it has some good things in it. But it proceeds like a sleepwalker, perpetually waking and wondering what it is doing, and falling asleep and doing it some more.
Gator, preparing to go back to his illegal still in a Southern swamp, is taken under the fat and bumbling wing of a Federal agent from New York. He is pressured into going to work for a vicious and sadistic thug, Bama McCall, who runs a neighboring county, police, prostitutes and all; the purpose being to develop evidence against him.
Gator does, hates what he sees—despite his years in jail he is upset by shakedown rackets and youthful prostitution—teams up with a beautiful woman reporter and an eccentric old woman with cats, and finally, after a lot of gory beatings and deaths, nails the crook and loses the girl. She, played with nicely lurching eyes by Lauren Hutton, could not love him half so well loved she not honors more.
"I want to win a Pulitzer Prize and make love on the terrace of a New York apartment," she tells him sadly.
Miss Hutton could have been quite good had her part been better written. Aside from the preceding quote, there seems to be a complete lack of opinion by the authors as to whether she is to be a wide-eyed companion for Mr. Reynolds or a tough decision-maker.
Again, the Federal agent, played by Jack Weston, starts out as an amusing incompetent. Mr. Weston's clowning begins with some subtlety but becomes broader and broader until he is nothing but sweat and quivers. And then, abruptly, he is a hero and dies horrendously.
Directed by Mr. Reynolds, the movie is racked by indecision and lethargy. Everything seems to happen several times, or, if only once, for a very long time. There is an early scene of Gator's trying to evade the police in a motorboat. He rams police boats not once but what seems like seven or eight times. When he is given a knockout pill in a bar he takes a full 10 minutes to keel over.
"Gator" is rated PG. There are several painful deaths of characters who up to that moment play for comic effect and whom we are not prepared to see so nastily disposed of. There are some rough fights and a totally stoned 15-year-old prostitute in scenes that would have very little to offer young children.
- Released in 1976
- Running Time: 115 Min.
- Production Co: Levy-Gardner-Laven
- Distribution Co: United Artists (1976) (USA) (theatrical)
Cast and Crew
- Directed by Burt Reynolds & James Best (uncredited)
- Starring Burt Reynolds, Jack Weston, Lauren Hutton, Jerry Reed, Alice Ghostley, Mike Douglas and Dub Taylor
- Produced by Arthur Gardner, Jules V. Levy
- Original Music by Charles Bernstein
- Cinematography by William A. Fraker
- Film Editing by Harold F. Kress