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JASON MILLER POSSESSES 'THE NICKEL RIDE' W/ LINDA HAYNES

year: 1974 cast: Jason Miller, John Hillerman, Linda Haynes, Bo Hopkins
In THE NICKEL RIDE, wherein a convoluted set-up is experienced through random wandering conversations with blue collar workers, building managers, street dwellers, and a boxer asked to take a fall, the main actor, an ever-intense Jason Miller, who played the buried lead in THE EXORCIST, is in some big trouble, and there's a feeling of walking into a movie after missing the first twenty minutes.

Overall Rating: **1/2
Throughout this dialogue-driven Neo Neor with a fantastic title in THE NICKEL RIDE, be careful when reading the plot summary... An intriguing tale about a criminal wearing a skeleton key around his neck, controlling what's called "The Block," a literal boulevard of warehouses where mobsters keep their, you know, goods; one particular new client is hesitant to join-in and Miller's ultra-serious boss, played by a 70's eclectic character-actor who would gain fame a decade later as Tom Selleck's uppity caretaker, Higgins, on MAGNUM P.I., John Hillerman has, for mysterious reasons, no logical reason not to trust the likable neighborhood chief, Miller's Cooper... at least not the person we got to know thus far, showing absolutely no flaws whilst completely beloved by the neighborhood... and that's exactly what we seemed to have missed, including the important aspect of how this man's calculating job works in the first place, taking us through a rushed introduction with a continuing score sounding like surreal nightmare carnival music.

Linda Haynes SCORE: **1/2
And with a gorgeous Linda Haynes as Sarah, stubbornly hanging around to our put-upon hero's chagrin; like Charles Bronson in that same year's more entertaining and action-packed MR. MAJESTYK, the two leads venture to a hidden woodsy cabin (albeit for much different reasons), unsuccessfully hiding away from one of the most intentionally annoying hit-men in cinema history: that being the superb Bo Hopkins as a talkative yet subtle hillbilly assassin, a cross between MIDNIGHT COWBOY and COLUMBO, whose best scene occurs during a dream, which really works in how Miller wakes up from it – eerie and edgy thanks to director Robert Mulligan.

After escaping from Hopkins following a semi-suspenseful yet overlong exterior melodrama, Hillerman, in the midst of a noisy big-wig city party crashed by his subtle yet vengeful employee, explains the situation (as best he can but not enough to clear up the plot-line) to Cooper. And of course that snarky albatross, Hopkins, still needs to be taken out, for eternity. So overall, with such an incredible cast on board (including a wasted Victor French), THE NICKEL RIDE is a damn shame. Jason Miller, a swarthy "student" of the Brando style of brooding Method Actor spontaneity, and who brought in an urban intensity, reaching beyond the horror genre in THE EXORCIST, is stuck without a coherent plot to attempt displaying what he has (or could have had) to offer audiences after his demonic big break.
THE EXORCIST main character Jason Miller starred the next year in THE NICKLE RIDE
One usually wants Bo Hopkins to stick around, but here he just won't go away
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