Saturday, August 13, 2011

bad/awesome flixxx review: Billy Jack (1971)

"You know what I think I'm gonna do then? Just for the hell of it?" - Billy Jack
"Tell me."- Posner
"I'm gonna take this right foot, and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face... and you wanna know something? There's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it." - Billy Jack
"Really?"- Posner
"Really."- Billy Jack

"Now, which is it gonna be: drive your car in the lake or get a dislocated elbow?"- Billy Jack

"Oh, really? Tell me, where is that place? Where is it? In what remote corner of this country-no-entire goddamn planet is there a place were men really care about one another and really love each other? Now, you tell me were such a place is, and I promise you that I'll never hurt another human being as long as I live..... Just one place!!!"- Billy Jack

This is one of my favorite movies. I absolutely loved it growing up. Just decided to check it out again after a very long break from viewing. I watched it the other week when I was sick as hell from food poisoning. It took my mind off of whatever fever I had even if for 20 minutes at a time. This is the story of Billy Jack, an ex-Green Beret, "half breed", Native American ass kicker who is protecting a group of students in a special hippie art school commune on the outskirts of some redneck town in jerkwater usa. As a young man, this film taught me about bigotry and vigilante justice. Its a helluva a film with a helluva message, with a cameo by a young Howard "Johnny Fever" Hesseman, and starring Tom Laughlin, I present to you- BILLY JACK!!!!

This cinematic delight begins with a crooked deputy going to meet a shitty businessman to go kill wild mustangs instead of picking up his runaway daughter from the airport. Our hero Billy Jack catches the dudes on the Indian Reservation and tells them to get the fuck outta there. One of them even says he could shoot him if the cop or the business dude Posner wanted them too, but they back down and split. The head sherriff picks up the girl from the airport, drops her off and she tells her old man she's pregnant and that she doesn't know who the father is because she fucked so many dudes it could be anyone. He slaps the shit out of her. She runs away again and Billy Jack finds her and takes to the hospital and then they let her hide out at the "Freedom School" which is run by Billy Jack's girlfriend Jean, this pacifist lady. All this takes place outside of some town in Arizona where Billy Jack has settled now that he's back from the war. Billy Jack is conflicted inside because he wants to become closer to his Native American roots, but he believes that there is no way he can not fight in a world that is so full of violence and hatred... i.e. the white man's world.

The head cop knows that its best if the girl hides out at the school but warns them that there will be trouble. He is absolutely right. The chickenshit son of the bigwig in town, Bernard Posner wants nothing more than to make his dad proud even though he despises him. The children come into town to buy ice cream and Bernard and his friends humiliate them because they aren't white. Billy Jack comes in and beats the shit out of them. He also uses his "hopkido" skills to beat up a lot of the town dudes who try to jump him. As the movie goes on and on, a committee tries to shut the school down saying its not right for the kids and they have no rules and blah blah blah. The kids sing a bunch of hippie songs and show their asses in court. Ultimately they invite the townfolk to the school and convince them that they are doing good things. The townspeople invite the kids to do improv in the town. Things seem to be going good until ol Bernard fucks everything up again.

Billy Jack goes into the forest to become one with the snake and has a ceremony. Bernard almost kills him but finds out the girl is hiding out there and goes to tattle tale on the school. The crooked cops and men come to get the girl. They can't find her. Also Bernard tries to get this one girl with fake eyelashes to bang him against her will in his new car. Jean and Billy Jack catch him and Billy Jack offers him the opportunity to have his arm dislocated or drive his car in the lake. So he drives it in the lake! HA! Then with his dad super pissed, they come after the kids, but they can't find her. With pressure coming from all sides, everyone thinks this may be the end for the school. Then Bernard and his buddy spy on Jean while she's having a swim and tie her down and rape her. Jean begs the kids not to tell Billy cause she knows he'll kill them and that will be the end of everything she's worked for.

The deputy rallies the town and goes to get his daughter. Bernard ends up killing one of the students, a native american boy who is actually the boyfriend of the runaway girl. When Billy Jack sees this, he knows that now he's gotta do something bad. Even though he tries his very best, he knows that sometimes you have to do something that you would never do otherwise. Sometimes you have to kill motherfuckers. He finds out about the rape too and then he somehow very quickly and easily finds Bernard in a shitty hotel banging some 13 year old girl. Bernard shoots Billy, but Billy karate chops him to death with one fell swoop. Then Billy goes and gets the girl and splits to an old church. Soon everyone in town including local and state cops and the national guard are called in to take him out. When they find out the story, Jean, the doctor, and the head sheriff convince Billy to give himself up. Billy gives them conditions so that the school can keep running and is hauled off in the final scene with the kids lined up the dirt country road giving the "black power" fist. The sequel tells how the trial goes. This movie has a lot of hippied out moments, but is a passionate statement about bigotry and peace and violence. I highly recommend it.

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