B-Movie Night: Gator

Burt Reynolds returns as Gator MCKlusky in the sequel to White Lightning.

Fresh out of jail (again) Gator McKlusky is press-ganged into helping the Governor and the Feds clean up Dunston County because the kingpin of Dunston crime is an old schoolfriend called Bama McCall. After giving the authorities the run-around in his jet boat, McKlusky reluctantly agrees to dig up the dirt on McCall just to keep his family from being harrassed.

McCall’s not a very convincing crimelord, and his chief henchmen- camp and creepy Smiler and big, dumb Bones- don’t help his image much. But he runs protection rackets, drugs and underage prostitutes and, it’s eventually revealed, has the local mayor in his pocket. With the help of a local reporter with great ambitions, and despite the presence of bumbling Fed Greenfield, Gator finds the secret ledgers that incriminate his old friend. Which is when McCall turns murderous.

The tone of this film feels wrong, with the violence of the last fifteen minutes or so being completely out of place. Where White Lightning managed an air of seedy threat, too much of this movie felt like a jape, an attempt to make bit of box office revenue riding on the success of the first film without putting in much effort. The jet boat chase is the big set piece of the film, but it comes at the start of the movie when it doesn’t feel like there’s anything at stake.

Overall, a disappointing follow up to a piece of Southern Fried noir.

Buy Gator from Amazon UK.