A great star vehicle for Reynolds, who easily rides the wave of this action-adventure flick in the style of a sexy and pulpy men’s adventure novel, White Lightning allows its superstar the flex and room to do his thing, which I’m sure outshined what was written on the page.
Plot: A “stool pigeon” is released early from prison to try to get proof that an Arkansas sheriff is corrupt.
Review: When incarcerated Gator McKlusky (Burt Reynolds at his peak) finds out that his brother was murdered by a sheriff (played by Ned Beatty) in a nearby Arkansas county, he tries escaping, but he’s easily caught and given a deal: He’ll be released early on the condition that he go undercover – become a “stool pigeon” – as a runner of “White Lightning” (bootleg liquor) to see if he can root out the sheriff’s corruption. He works under the wing of a bootlegger named Dude (Matt Clark), whose best runner (Bo Hopkins) needs a fast driver to do interceptions when he’s being chased by the police, and Gator fits the bill perfectly with his unparalleled skill at driving and daredevil antics. This gets the attention of the vile and corrupt sheriff who has been warned that the feds have sent an undercover stool pigeon to entrap him, and when he realizes it’s Gator, he sends his whole force out to kill him … which won’t be easy.
A great star vehicle for Reynolds, who easily rides the wave of this action-adventure flick in the style of a sexy and pulpy men’s adventure novel, White Lightning allows its superstar the flex and room to do his thing, which I’m sure outshined what was written on the page. The movie has some real snappy car chases and a couple of blast ’em up shootouts, and Reynolds really showed his sex appeal and his star power here. Joseph Sargent’s direction is on point, and the supporting cast does a great job with their gritty character roles. Followed by Gator.
Kino Lorber has just reissued White Lightning onto Blu-ray, and it looks sharp in high definition. There’s a new audio commentary by Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson who banter and have fun with their discussion of the film. There’s also a feature entitled “back to the Bayou: Part 1 with star Burt Reynolds,” and some TV spots, radio spots, and the trailer. This edition comes with a slipcover. Kino has also just reissued Gator on Blu-ray as well.