Movie Review XXII

by zenquaker

Billy Jack

Half-Indian Vietnam war veteran Billy Jack hides out on the Indian reservation, stopping poachers from killing wild horses for dog meat, and defending the students of the hippy-dippy school on the res from the prejudices of conservative White Midwesterners. Things start to escalate as the daughter of a local sheriff’s deputy flees to the school to evade her father’s beatings, exacerbated by a violent encounter between Billy Jack and some locals harassing students. But all Billy Jack knows is escalation, so how are things going to end?

I decided to check this movie out after it was mentioned in Reel Injun. It was made by the National Student Film Corporation, and it tells. The emphasis on improvisational theater gets boring after a while [-]. The movie is the classic power fantasy of the down trodden, but it manages to get beyond the clichés involved. I think it does a good job of showing the sort of bigotries that really exist, how they warp reality, and how they grow from petty BS into abusive violence [+]. It also shows the limits of violence as a solution to that sort of problem [+], even if it is a bit preachy and hippy dippy. The fight scenes aren’t very well done, even for a 70’s movie. The martial arts is okay, but it’s five guys waiting around for Billy Jack to beat them up one at a time [-]. The story also stumbles along, veering off on tangents that don’t really support the rest of the narrative [-]. I did appreciate the way the rape scene was done [+]. They didn’t try to make it very salacious, and while I’m not sure most women would react to rape the way the woman in the movie does, I liked the way she tried to use it instead of it using her. I will give the movie a point of oomph for trying to deal with serious issues in a serious way.

Final Rating: 4/10

Best Quote: Mr. Posner: “You’re makin’ a mistake.” Billy Jack: “I’ve made ’em before.”