Black Cat Run (1998)

Before he gained mainstream Hollywood notice for the Val Kilmer-starring The Salton Sea (2002). Before he went mainstream with two back-to-back Shia Labeouf-starrers with Disturbia (2007) and Eagle Eye (2008). Before he gave us xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (2017) and tossed his hat in the ring to direct the upcoming G.I Joe: Ever Vigilant, D.J Caruso directed this Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist) co-penned retro-action flick for HBO Films that aired on the cable network on September 18, 1998.

Hot from his 30-plus episode run on TV’s Melrose Place and his debut in a theatrical-starring role with Starship Troopers (1997), Patrick Muldoon (American Satan, The Comeback Trail) stars as Johnny Del Grissom, a gas-station attendant who chases down the chain gang escaped convicts who abducted his girlfriend — and he’s also on the run, as he’s blamed for her father’s murder (Rex Linn, TV’s Better Call Saul and Young Sheldon). And, of course, her pappy is the sheriff. And so ensues the Fast & Furiousness with Johnny chasing down the convicts and Deputy Norm Babbit (Jake Busey, S.F.W. and Starship Troopers) chasing down Johnny.

Macon County Line or Jackson County Jail, anyone? Yes, please!

Seriously, how can you not like a movie (and there are detractors) that rolls out a tricked out Olds 442 tweaked with Nitrous . . . and gives you John Doe, our favorite punk bassist from Los Angeles, matching thespin’ chop-for-chop alongside Kevin J. O’Connor (Deep Rising, The Mummy), Peter Greene (Pulp Fiction, The Mask), our favorite ex-Bond girl Lois Childs, and Jeffrey DeMunn (currently starring on Showtime’s Billions; Dale Horvath on The Walking Dead)?

You can’t. Not with a writer and director and cast like that.

In spite of its obviously low budget, Black Cat Run burns rubber and then some, all working in a Mad Max, big-dumb-engine sort of way, which was just an Aussie western trading out horses for horsepower.

And we love it, for this is pure A.I.P retro-cinema: a ’70s Drive-In dream that would make Roger Corman proud, filled with 44-Magnums, exploding tanker trucks, cheesy one-liners that would make make Eastwood cringe, and every other B-Movie absurdity you can think.

Watch the full movie as a free rip on You Tube. You can thank us later.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publishes on Medium.

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