The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

HOOPER (1978) ***

Burt Reynolds stars as Sonny Hooper, the best damn stuntman alive.  Hooper’s working on an Adam West spy movie and gets to do a bunch of insane stunts (like doing a freefall while holding a dog in his arms).  He also has to contend with an up and coming stuntman named Ski (Jan-Michael Vincent) who idolizes Hooper.  Eventually they become friends and together they concoct lots of crazier and crazier stunts, culminating in a rocket car jump over a blown up bridge. 


Reynolds and director Hal Needham both got their starts as stuntmen and Hooper is their love letter to them.  Needham paints a colorful picture of the stuntman’s hard-drinking, risk-taking, rough-and-tumble lifestyle and films the stunts themselves with panache.  There are car stunts, fire gags, and parachuting stunts galore, all of which are top notch.  The highlight comes during an awesome barroom brawl, which has to be one of the greatest ever filmed. 


Reynolds’ Good Ol’ Boy charisma keeps you entertained, even when things get all schmaltzy during the third act.  Hooper is a Reynolds vehicle through and through and it features him doing what he does best:  Driving fast cars and making smart ass wisecracks, so I could easily forgive the film for its lapses into melodrama.  Reynolds’ Smokey and the Bandit co-star, Sally Field gets the thankless role of Hooper’s concerned girlfriend.  The excellent supporting cast (which includes John Marley, James Best, Robert Klein, Terry Bradshaw and Robert Tessier) adds to the fun.

Needham, Reynolds and Field re-teamed two years later for Smokey and the Bandit 2.

Tags: action, burt reynolds, h

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