As movies based off of cheesy 70’s country songs go, Convoy is no Rhinestone, but it sure is a heck of a good time.
Anyone who remembers C.W. MacCall’s classic novelty song Convoy will know that it was all about a trucker named Rubber Duck who is on the lam from the law. The film has SLIGHTLY more plot. In the movie, Rubber Duck is played by Kris Kristofferson and after getting into a diner fight with Sheriff Dirty Lyle (Ernest Borgnine), he hightails it out of there and heads for the state line. Along the way, some of the nation’s grubbiest looking truckers sympathize with Duck’s plight and join his convoy and in the process, turn him into a modern day folk hero.
There is a lot of religious symbolism prevalent in Convoy. For one, Kris Kristofferson just plain LOOKS like Jesus with his scraggily beard. For two, everyone follows Kris in the convoy blindly and always look to him for the answers, the same way the apostles did. Three, there’s a caravan of religious nuts who follow Kris in the convoy quoting scripture left and right. And four: Kris dies in the end, only to be resurrected.
Okay, I’m reading far too much into this flick.
Look, Convoy is a stupid movie but lots of metal gets twisted up real good and while it runs out of gas near the end, it’s still lots of fun. It breaks no new ground that Smokey and the Bandit hadn’t already covered ten times better, but if you’re like me and you enjoy seeing lots of truckers talking into CB radios while crashing through plenty of houses, roadblocks, and hardware stores, then you’ll definitely want to give this flick a big 10-4.
Kristofferson is quite good in the lead and the colorful supporting cast, which includes Burt Young and Seymour Cassel adds some spunk to the proceedings. The only performer I just plain couldn’t stand was Ali MacGraw. Not only is she just plain awful as the love interest, she looks like somebody did a drum solo on her face with the ugly stick. Seriously, she looks like an Aborigine hooker in this movie and she has zero chemistry with Kristofferson. (I don’t blame you Kris, I wouldn’t touch her with a ten foot pole either.)
I’m not exactly sure what possessed Sam fuckin’ Peckinpah of all people to direct this thing, but since he did there are a lot of slow motion shots of car crashes and people getting thrown through glass windows. Since it’s rated PG, nobody gets shot a thousand times in slow motion, although in the finale, Borgnine DOES pump several hundred rounds of ammunition into the Duck’s truck.
Peckinpah, the ultimate man’s man director would only direct one more film in his lifetime, The Osterman Weekend. B.W.L. Norton wrote this sucker and he went on to not only write but direct the vastly underrated More American Graffiti the next year.