Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW

Before she was TV's WONDER WOMAN, beautiful Lynda Carter was Bobbie Jo - a small-town carhop running with a latter-day Billy the Kid on a Southwestern crime spree, in Mark Lester's 1976 drive-in favorite, BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW, now available on MOD disc from the MGM Limited Edition Collection.

Bobbie Jo Baker (the gorgeous Carter) is a bored small-town girl who falls for a handsome drifter named Lyle Wheeler (Marjoe Gortner, STARCRASH, THE FOOD OF THE GODS). Accompanied by Bobbie Jo's best friend Essie (Belinda Belaski, THE HOWLING, PIRANHA, MATINEE), Bobbie Jo's stripper sister Pearl (Merrie Lynn Ross, CLASS OF 1984) and her boyfriend Slick (Jesse Vint, FORBIDDEN WORLD), they embark on a cross-country rampage of bank robberies, car chases, shoot-outs and freewheeling sex, relentlessly pursued by the so-called forces of law and order.

I'm not sure why I'm such a big fan of car chase movies; films about car racing leave me cold. But when you put a couple of young lovers in a cool car and have them on the run from the cops through the countryside, I'm hooked. Especially if there are plenty of car crashes and lots of gratuitous nudity.

BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW isn't a particularly good movie, but it's not all that bad, either. The script is episodic and repetitive with underdeveloped characters, and the direction by B-movie veteran Mark L. Lester (TRUCK STOP WOMEN, COMMANDO, CLASS OF 1984) is competent if uninspired. Still, I enjoyed it - but more because of the quirky, likable cast and my own inexplicable affection for the genre than for the movie itself. Okay - and because I got to see Lynda Carter and Belinda Belaski topless.

The MOD disc from MGM Limited Edition Collection offers a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, sourced from a decent print. Considering the film's age, it looks pretty good, but it has not been remastered or cleaned up, and a fair amount of dirt, scratches and other defects are evident throughout the film. It's never too distracting, though. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio is adequate, if a bit muffled at times. The only extra is the original theatrical trailer.

BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW is standard drive-in car chase fare. It's not a classic of the genre, but it is entertaining,  in spite of its narrative faults. The cast is fun and the film delivers the requisite amounts of violence and sex. If you enjoy the genre, it's definitely worth checking out.

BUY: Bobbie Jo & Outlaw