Saturday, July 16, 2016

Smokey and the Bandit Part 3

Directed by Dick Lowry and written by Stuart Birnbaum and David Dashey, Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 is the third and final film of the Smokey and the Bandit series in which Buford T. Justice is asked to transport a large shipment for the Burdettes for a large sum of money where he finds himself having to compete with the Snowman who has become the new Bandit. The film is another rehash of the previous films but this time has Smokey sort of becoming the Bandit as Jackie Gleason reprises his role as Justice with Jerry Reed playing the Snowman who becomes the new Bandit. Also starring Paul Williams, Paul McCormick, Colleen Camp, and Mike Henry as Junior Justice. Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 is a messy and uninspired film from Dick Lowry.

The film revolves around Buford T. Justice being asked to carry a plastic shark on his car by the Burdettes for $250,000 to drive from Florida to Texas to promote their new fish-and-chips eatery. It’s a task Justice will do as he becomes unsatisfied with retirement as he brings along his dim-witted son Junior for the ride yet they’re unaware that the Burdettes are doing whatever they can to make sure Justice doesn’t succeed as they bring in the Snowman to play the Bandit who is later joined by a bookkeeper at a used car shop named Dusty (Colleen Camp) who also goes for the ride. It’s a film that is essentially a rehash of its predecessors where there’s a lot of chases and hilarity yet the screenwriters never bring anything new as the jokes aren’t funny and some of the situations are just downright silly. Though Justice remains the most interesting character in the story, everyone else is just the same while the Snowman as the Bandit is just lazy as he never brings anything new to the story either.

Dick Lowry’s direction does start off nicely with this parody of sorts of Patton where Justice is announcing his retirement in a ceremony as is quite lavish but also funny as it would lead to a montage of Justice’s attempt at retirement. After that, the film goes downhill where it does become this very long chase film with very little breaks in the action as there’s a lot of silliness involving Big and Little Enos Burdette (Pat McCormick and Paul Williams, respectively) in their attempts to foil Justice so that he loses the best and Little Enos gets Justice’s badge as a belt buckle. While it is largely shot in Florida, the film never does enough to establish a sense of location while many of the shots never do anything visually as Lowry is more about action and more action and how silly can some of the destruction can get. Even as the chases become ponderous and almost nonsensical while some of the shenanigans get more ridiculous. Overall, Lowry just creates a film that never does anything new as well as remind audiences of the glory of its predecessors.

Cinematographer James Pergola does nice work with the cinematography as it is colorful to play into the locations though it is clear that there is a different look in the way Snowman is presented as well as Justice which does show that there were some re-shoots. Editors David E. Blewitt, Byron “Buzz” Brandt, and Christopher Greenbury do OK work with the editing as it has a few inspiring moments but relies too much on fast-cuts for much of the chase and action where it becomes nonsensical. Art director Ron Hobbs and set decorator Don K. Levy do some fine work with the look of motel that many of the characters would go to along with the Burdettes‘ home. Costume designer Linda Benedict-Pierce does terrific work with the costumes from the stylish clothes of the Burdettes to the look of the Bandit. Sound editor John Stacy does superb work with the sound in the way the cars sound and all of that stuff. The film’s music by Larry Cansler is just bland as it is largely a country-inspired soundtrack with songs from Lee Greenwood, Ed Bruce, John Stewart, and Bill Summers as it is just exposition and rehashes of other songs.

The film’s cast feature a few notable appearances from Sharon Anderson as a policewoman trying to bust Justice, Raymond Bouchard as an eager sheriff trying to catch the Bandit, and Faith Minton as a nymphomaniac who falls for Justice as they’re just small but silly performances. Pat McCormick and Paul Williams in their respective roles as the father-son duo Big and Little Enos Burdette were good in small doses but their appearances become grating in the film while Mike Henry’s performance as Junior Justice is just more idiotic as it’s just unbearable to watch. Colleen Camp is alright as Dusty as a woman who joins Cledus for the ride where she’s not given much to do as she’s just a passenger.

Jerry Reed is terrific as Cledus aka the Snowman who becomes the Bandit as it has his moments but Reed is never given the chance to do a lot but pretend to be the Bandit. Finally, there’s Jackie Gleason in an excellent performance as Buford T. Justice aka Smokey as the sheriff who is given a chance to go on a final ride and keep his badge while coping with the downside of retirement as Gleason is the best thing in the film knowing how to be funny.

Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 is a terrible film from Dick Lowry. Despite Jackie Gleason’s enjoyable performance, the film is just a lazy rehash of its predecessors where nothing new is brought to the table while characters who were good in small doses become bigger for no good reason. In the end, Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 is just a horrible film from Dick Lowry.

Related: Smokey and the Bandit - Smokey and the Bandit II

© thevoid99 2016


keith71_98 said...

I do remember this thing being a stinker. It's funny though, I don't remember anything also about the movie and I certainly haven't had the urge to see it again.

thevoid99 said...

Yeah, unless you're a completist or a fan of Jackie Gleason. I wouldn't waste my time watching this as it never does anything new at all. Especially as some of the jokes that aren't made by Gleason aren't funny and they feel forced.

Dell said...

Messy and uninspired is a great way to describe it. They should have never bothered making this one.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-Here's why it didn't work. If you're going to make a Smokey and the Bandit movie. You need 4 things: Hal Needham to helm the film. Burt Reynolds as the Bandit. Jackie Gleason as Smokey. And Sally Field as Frog. That fact that only one of the 4 was used and Burt only making a cameo in its final minutes is not enough. In reality, what Universal did was hire some hack to just take everything that made the film work but without the key ingredients. All you have left is this shit. One element isn't enough. You need those 4 elements for the series to work. Don't fuck with that formula.

ruth said...

Wow I didn't even realize there are 3 Smokey & the Bandit movies. Well sounds like this franchise has diminishing returns so I'll just check out the first one.

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-The second one is actually pretty good but I would stay away from the third film as it only has one of the four elements that made the first one so special.