Monday, May 25, 2015

Out On Bail

Robert Ginty (THE EXTERMINATOR) stars as John Dee, a drifter (or is he?) who arrives in a rural Tennessee town via freight train and immediately runs into trouble with the local cops Rambo-style. The corrupt sheriff, Taggart, is played by a bad actor named Tom Badal, who seems to have gotten the part only because A) he co-wrote the movie and B) he physically resembles actor Jack Starrett, who played the brutal deputy who tortured Rambo in FIRST BLOOD.

Taggart and the equally corrupt mayor (Russ Meyer regular Stuart Lancaster, masquerading as “Leo Sparrowhawk”) are operating a narcotics ring and frame Dee for a mass murder at the local diner. Temporarily finding refuge at a motel run by single mom Sally Anne (Kathy Shower, 1986’s Playmate of the Year), Dee quickly learns the only way out of his fix is to expose the crooked government.

Although OUT ON BAIL feels a little flabby in its second act, the chases and stunts that bookend the movie are handled well enough by veteran director Gordon Hessler (SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN) and second unit director Neal Sundstrom (HOWLING V: THE REBIRTH) to make this little Trans World Entertainment release worth a watch.

For those who don’t mind a few unintended laughs, it’s fun to giggle at the off-the-wall portrayal of rural Tennessee by the producers and crew in South Africa, where OUT ON BAIL was filmed — an ersatz handprinted “Tennesse” license plate being just one example. Ginty handles himself fine, as usual, while Shower does little but pine and pose topless. Sydney Lassick (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST) is a reliably weird public defender. But not as weird as Hessler's half-ass attempt to convince us John Dee is some kind of avenging spirit from beyond.

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