Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Smokey and the Bandit Part 3

I recently complained that Smokey and the Bandit II didn't do what it says on the tin. Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 does, and yet, it's somehow worse. How does that work?

Well, for all their flaws, the first two movies had a story. It wasn't a good story, or a deep one, but it existed. There was a forward momentum, something to follow, some characters that you could conceivably care about. This doesn't have that. The story? No real story, just a destination, with no real connection from point a to point b. It's a collection of silly vignettes that have nothing to do with each other.

Hell, the warning signs come early. No Burt Reynolds - well, there's a pointless cameo, but he's largely absent - no Sally Field and the director was not Hal Needham. Is it that hard to get Hal Needham? He's not exactly an A-list director. He's barely even a C-list one, how crap does your production have to be if you can't get Hal Needham? Jackie Gleason is back, though he phones it in, and Jerry Reed grows a mustache and turns into the Bandit. Yet, while he actually turned in a pretty respectable performance in the first two, he's possibly the most annoying thing on screen.

So, let's cover what is done right. There are a lot of stunts, and many are well done. They don't really serve much purpose, but if you want to see cars crash through things, well, this is a movie where that happens. The breadth and depth of things being crashed through is vast. It's a very impressive variety of pointless crashing. Also, in one scene you can see a nipple if you look closely.

That's it.

Some stuff is just weird. Some scenes were heavily, and obviously, dubbed in post production. Reportedly Jackie Gleason also played the bandit in the first cut, which wouldn't have made sense, and I wonder if that change explains the variety strange cuts and general incomprehensibleness of the goings on. Other strange things are nudists and having our heroes stumble into an orgy. That seems like an odd choice when the film really is only good if you're 8 or watching it on TBS while making a cake. Speaking of the orgy, that sequence is weird, as the bandit character and the smokey seem to be in entirely different worlds, as one goes to a rather dry novelty hotel and the other picks up a tranny hooker.

But mostly it's just bad. The comedy isn't funny, and there's no reason to care what happens. It's just a series of slow motion car crashes, without any reason to follow or care. It forgot that while lightweight, pointless and often stupid, the first two Smokey and the Bandit movies were, well, movies. They had stories, characters, and even a little tension. Not great stories, characters, or tension, but they were there. This just has cars crashing into things. I'm pro cars crashing into things, but unless there's a reason for it, what's the point?

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