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May 31, 2014

Movie Review: One Man War (1990, Retromedia)

I knew better. I freaking knew better! After the debacle I put myself through with Dan Haggerty and Elves, I knew I should have stayed the hell away from One Man War (formerly Macon County War). The release from Retromedia looks as good as it possibly can but the disc is as light on special features as good ol’ Grizzly Adams is on willpower. I didn’t learn anything from my fellow Head Cheesers. I should have recognized the name Bret McCormick from Peggy Christie’s review of Repligator but, like always, I ignored the signs in front of me and put this freaking disc into the player and, subsequently, have had nothing but mush-mouthed thoughts of apathetically delivering lines, poorly done action scenes and a plotline that would make Doris Wishman snort in derision. Oh and the title… I’ll get to that later. Damn you, Dan Haggerty, damn you.

 Plot synopsis: Cole Jackson (Dan Haggerty) comes into his hometown a broke folk musician (not broke enough to stop shoving Krispy Kremes in his face, but broke nonetheless). He hooks up with his brother, Nathan Jackson (Benton Jennings) and his beautiful, platonic life partner (Malinda Bryant). Yeah. This flick has the sex appeal of Santa Claus. Moving on. Haggerty gets shot and is in a hospital bed for the majority of the film. His brother, meanwhile, involves himself in stopping some pollution, moonshining, making a deal with duplicitous Federal agents, solving the mystery of the dead animals, getting into truck chases, getting shot himself, being kidnapped and tortured and, finally, getting set up to be murdered. Meanwhile, the platonic life partner wakes up Dan Haggerty, gives him a shotgun, and they go and ‘rescue’ the brother, who, while handcuffed, kills the bad guys, saves the day and keeps Haggerty from dying. Yeah, this was a One Man War, but it was Grizzly Adams’ slightly better-looking, and thinner, younger brother that waged the war. Shit.

For the limited amount of time Haggerty was on screen, though, he never fails to disappoint. Every line was delivered as if he was at the tail end of a booze and coke bender… which he probably was. Add to that McCormick’s brilliant direction and you’ve got yourself a redneck action film that not even rednecks would enjoy. Half of the cast has to be locals interested in seeing how them thar Hollywood homos make them movin’ pictures! At least Benton Jennings went on to a pretty successful character acting career. He cut his teeth on this one!

Did I like it? Of course I liked it… you can’t intentionally make something this bad. That is a special gift that only a few filmmakers possess (and I am guilty as well).

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