Billy Jack - Native American Movie Listing
I really have mixed emotions about Billy Jack. Some scenes were quite good - while others had me laughing out loud at how inane they were. Whether you like or hate this movie will depend on how well you can deal with the silly moments.
Tom McLaughlin stars as mixed-race Billy Jack, a man who is very much like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. He's very skilled at violence, but wants to find the peaceful solution. Even many of the ways he moves and talks are quite similar to Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You have to wonder if Viggo saw and admired these films when they came out.
It's not that Billy wants to kick butt - but those darn townsfolk are just so nasty! They're killing off the horses, illegally, for profit. They're trouncing on the local school which tries to let kids be kids. The townsfolk are deliberately nasty to anybody who is different. Billy tries to reason with them - but when reason fails, out come the fists.
The school marm loves Billy, even while she tries to hold in his more violent tendencies. Even when she is raped, she could easily set Billy off for revenge - but chooses not to. The emotional mix in this situation was very much like in the Sopranos when Tony's therapist is in the same situation. She knows she has a viscious animal at her beck and call ... and deliberately makes the difficult choice to "do the right thing".
I don't mind that there are open ironies here - that the peace lovers turn to violence when it's convenient, just like everybody else does. What does get to me are some of the more "meandering bashing" segments, which appeared to be ad libbed for long stretches. The town hall meeting scene sticks in my mind. The townies are giving the kids a chance to be heard - and what do they do? They yell, they scream and are disrespectful. I like to think of myself as someone who always fights for the underdog, and it made me embarassed, actually, to think that I could have been in that room with them, pleading my point for them to be treated fairly while they were acting like spoiled three year olds.
I certainly agree with the theme, and with the idea that the townsfolk were very much in the wrong. However, this wasn't the 1690s. Many avenues existed in the early 70s to resolve this situation. It didn't need to come down to a standoff right out of the pages of To Kill a Mockingbird. If dad is slugging his pregnant daughter, even in the "ancient days of the 70s", I'm sure there was a way to handle that.
As a side note, it was rather funny in modern times to hear the kid lamenting about the "$6,000" he paid for his 1971 Corvette :)
Not very much about Indian ways at all, despite their snake ceremony. With Billy Jack being half native, I really would have loved to have much more said about his culture and background. Instead, he was more a typical Western Guy, taciturn until provoked.
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