I know what type of movies I usually review but that actually reads “TRUCKER’S” WOMAN. I see the cover art too but no, that isn’t a typo. I am actually going to review a film about truckers from the 1970’s. Truth-be-told there were lots of movies about truck driving back in the day before modern technology and roadside speed cameras made it at least an interesting premise for an action drama if not an onscreen excuse to choreograph ten car pile ups synchronized to Banjo chase themes. This is the story of one man’s pursuit of justice, even if it did obey the posted speed limits of all times. Let us take this TRUCKER’S WOMAN in for a systems check and see if it will “take a load”.
It is the story of Mike Kelly, an honest to goodness trucker and good old boy who looks like a cross between Bob Crane and Sam Neil only somehow more quietly perverse. While he is a competent trucker and a card carrying “good Ole Boy” (with a bankers haircut??) one thing bothers Mike as he runs his route and that is the fact that he somehow knows his father died under mysterious circumstances same trucking Company who now employs him. Of course in an 87 minute movie the “intrigue” (and I use that term loosely) doesn’t take long to ensue and he soon finds that his new lover “Karen Fontaine” is none other than the daughter of the gangster, Union kingpin, naughty no-goodnik who was personally responsible for his father’s accident. Whether between the white lines or between the sheets, Mike Kelly’s quest will take him everywhere you might expect, as long as you were expecting some casual nudity, fistfight violence where our potbellied protagonist always somehow wins against multiple thugs twice his size and an ending where our protagonist proves that he is truly neither a lover nor a fighter. Spoiler Alert: It ends just like WATERWORLD and we all remember how good THAT was..
Of course not all of the problems with this film are because of the charisma challenged out of shape protagonist, the love interest Karen is a shrill, catty and scheming woman whose relationship and intentions with Mike are always seemingly out of synch with Mikes own, even and especially as their relationship develops and grows in intimacy. I suppose this is a perpetual attempt sexual tension but it never quite works out as believable because neither of these two lovers ever truly connects onscreen as much as they make constant egotistical quips and sarcastically attack one another verbally that eventually leads to a three second nude scene. Imagine the relationship between Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in a SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT movie only without all the underlying warmth and sincerity between the two characters and you pretty much have an idea what their interactions feel like.
But thankfully for Mike and Karen, the other characters are quite bizarre and ineffective in their own right. There is LT. Macdonald, a wily police investigator who forces Mike to help him get evidence against the evil trucking bosses yet is only capable of speaking all of his lines in the same a flat unconvincing monotone even in a crucial character arc scene where it was essential that he start out threatening and end up speaking amicably to Mike. The evil crime syndicate is run by a bunch of “Rockford Files” polyester wearing goons who speak exclusively in made for television mob stereotype and are easily beaten, outrun and tricked by Mike at all possible moments whenever they confront him. Finally there is “Diesel Joe” played by a young Larry (DARKMAN) Drake, a character sobugeyed, wormy and “Peter Lorre” looking that when his guilt is revealed, it ultimately surprises no one. As for the hard trucking action motif suggested by the movie poster art? Actually, there were no cars, trucks or barricades damaged whatsoever in the entire movie. That’s against the “code of the road” for a film of this genre.
I give this a very marginal two skulls only because it is so perfectly terrible as a movie that you might find yourself watching, unable to turn your head away from this senseless seventies head on collision of a taut undercover police/spy drama and a fun action trucker movie. (Sadly, there are no survivors).
Extras include trailers and those wonderful vintage intermission shorts which I seem to have an irrational attraction to.