Written by / 12/07/2011 / No comments / , , , , , ,

BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW

year: 1976 cast: Marjoe Gortner, Lynda Carter, Merrie Lynn Ross, Belinda Balaski rating: ***
B-Movie director Mark L. Lester makes his own BONNIE AND CLYDE, and it's hit and miss... but even the misses hit the mark occasionally.

The first twenty minutes, as rogue "outlaw" Marjoe Gortner (fastest draw in a Wild West sideshow) and carhop/waitress Lynda Carter hook up, is somewhat forced and the acting isn't great i.e. the performances, while fitting the low-budget exploitation genre, don't live up to the performers.

But when Bobbie's stripper sister Merrie Lynn Ross and her spontaneously lethal husband Jesse Vint join the renegades, aided by Belinda Balaski as Bobbie's dorky waitress friend, things pick up as the gang travels from one bank job to the next.

The bank heists are involving, providing our antiheroes a platform to rile customers and really take charge. Here we learn which member of the gang is fit for the life of crime. While on the outside realm, Gene Evans lends merit as the silly... but ultimately dangerous... Sheriff: the closer the cops move in, the more intense things get.

There's funny banter between the bank robbing antagonists, an eclectic lot sharing stuffy motel rooms along the lonesome highway, leading to some fantastic moments, especially with Vint's constant adlibs.

Despite being Gortner's film, Jesse steals this road show. His character, being the loose-cannon with his mouth and gun, provides an unpredictable factor essential in any exploitation with a vibe of underlined violence. And while Lynda Carter is the mainliner in the female department, and looks as incredible as ever, Merrie Lynn Ross, reminiscent of a Film Noir gun moll, is a far more interesting character (she also produced the film).

Mark L. Lester's direction during action scenes are top-notch, the shootouts (including tons of slow-mo) are Peckinpah-inspired. And the rambling country music keeps things rolling nicely in this decent shoot-em-up drive-in flick.
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