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Billy Jack

USA 1971
produced by
Mary Rose Solti (= Tom Laughlin) for National Student Film Corporation/Warner Brothers
directed by T.C.Frank (= Tom Laughlin)
starring Tom Laughlin, Delores Taylor, Clark Howat, Bert Freed, Kenneth Tobey, David Roya, John McClure, Julie Webb, Stan Rice, Victor Izay, Debbie Schock, Teresa Kelly, Lynn Baker, Susan Foster, Susan Sosa, Katy Moffatt, Gwen Smith, Cisse Cameron, Richard Stahl, Alan Myerson, Ed Greenberg, Howard Hesseman, Dan Barrows, Herb Kohl, Phillip Crowder, Dan Conley, Jenny Bellah, Becky Voight, Mark Baum, Johnny Otis, Nora Bendich, Lenny Pickett, Robert Wilson, Meg Partridge, James French, Laurie Mayeno, Alva Thompson, Melissa Stocking, Sira Aarons, Phillip Salvarry, Paul Bruce, Jessica Myerson
written by Frank Christina (= Tom Laughlin), Teresa Christina (= Delores Taylor), music by Mundell Lowe, fight choreography by Han Bong Soo

Billy Jack

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Jean (Delores Taylor) runs a hippie style boarding school in an Indian reservatin next to a conservative smalltown where businessman Posner (Bert Freed) has the entire police force safe for benign Sheriff Cole (Clark Howat) under his thumb ... and he's strongly opposed to Jean's school, and so is his racist son Bernard (David Roya), basically because the girls from the school are not as easy to bed as his smalltown sluts.

One day, teenage Barbara (Julie Webb) is brought to the school by the sheriff, mainly because she was impregnated by God-knows-who and her father, deputy Mike (Kenneth Tobey) is sure to kill her should he ever lay hands on her. Of course, Mike soon figures his daughter has to be with those hippies at the Indian reservation, and he gets back-up from Posner - and since Jean is a sworn pacifist, she and her kids can't put up much resistance other than singing hippie songs (which they do), but there's also Billy Jack (Tom Laughlin), a martial arts savvy, gun-toting, half-Indian Vietnam veteran who's the sworn protector of the school, and especially of Jean, and as a one-man fighting machine, he's able to defeat Posner's posse, protect Jean's kids and see to it that there's a balance of power in the region.

Things get ugly though when Bernard rapes Jean and kills Barbara's Indian boyfriend (Stan Rice), because now Billy Jack is no longer able to restrain his violent streak, he kills Bernard and deputy Mike, and he's heading for a showdown with the police in which he's sure to perish ... and only Jean, who still believes in her pacifist ideals despite having been raped by her enemy and everything, can persuade him to give himself up and do something good for the school at the same time.

 


It's hippies versus the establishment in this little film, the second inthe Billy Jack series, and the film leaves no questions open where its sympathies lie - which is of course part of Billy Jack's problem, it's way too one-sided to actually make a serious, differentiated statement on the film's main subject. Apart from that, the film is way too heavy on action to work as a message movie and way too message-laden to work as an action flick - and somehow message movie and action flick never were genres that mixed well to begin with.

All that said, the film is not a total loss, there are a few comedy skits that seem out of place within the film's context but are quite entertaining in themselves, plus it's an interesting document of its time for better or worse - just don't expect anything remotely resembling a masterpiece or even a definite statement.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD