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Gator
IMDB Rating: 5.8/10 from 2,089 votes
Release: 26 August 1976 (Netherlands) /

Gator

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Director: Burt Reynolds,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Agents force a former con man to help them nab a corrupt politician.

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Critic Reviews

I'm a huge fan of Burt Reynolds. The man just won't go down, no matter what odds are stacked against him. People can say what they want about him, he's certainly no quitter and he usually comes out on top. He's been a hero of mine for most of my life and I've grown up loving his movies. Did anyone ever see the good ole boy flick "White Lightning"? Well this is the sequel.

While this might be a strange sequel, I can understand why it is so different from the first. First off, this was made mostly for the drive-in crowd who may not have caught "White Lightning". This allowed the sequel to be a bit looser, where it didn't have to deal too much with what happened in "Lightning". Basically, what you're getting is a a continuation of the Gator McClusky character.

Here's a quickie on the plot: Swamp rat, Gator McClusky is living the life after just being released from the State Penn. He's currently spending his days moonshining with the old man, when the feds come to him with a proposition. Infiltrate a group led by childhood friend, Bama McCall (Jerry Reed), get enough evidence to bust him, or go back to prison for making moonshine. It's a hard choice. Double cross a lifelong friend or go back to prison and lose custody of your daughter. Needless to say, Gator goes with option A and eventually, all hell will break loose.

This was Burt's first shot at directing and, for the most part, he does okay. I have a few quibbles though. This is a PG-rated flick that was most-likely marketed as a comedy. There is plenty of comedy, in fact, from watching the first ten-minutes, you're going to think this is "Smokey and the Bandit" done in the swamps with Jack Weston playing a New York Smokey. There are a lot of laughs in this film and almost all of the characters are likeable. So this leads to my big bitch: Why in the HELL did everything go from lighthearted to cold and violent in the last act? Why did everything have to go down-hill in such a hurry? Maybe it's because the film spends too long meandering in pointless situations and then, when time comes for something significant, it happens lightning-quick. That is why I had such a hard time believing Jerry Reed as the bad guy. His performance was top notch but the film's pacing makes him go from good buddy, to mean, crooked, bad ass way too quickly.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but it's all very cofusing. Maybe, had the film been edited and trimmed a bit better, all of this would have been a bit more believable and things would have ran more smoothly. But being as it is, the whole thing has a very truncated feel. Watch it and you'll see what I mean.

I'm giving this film a 7/10 because, despite it's flaws, it's a hell of a lot of fun and Burt gives the kind of performance that you've come to know and love. "Gator" is definitely a good movie, once you get past it's faults. It's a real shame that movies with this kind of theme aren't made anymore.

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