September 27, 2009

Johnny Firecloud

A correspondent brought this movie to my attention:

Johnny Firecloud (1975)Tagline:  They taught him today's violence....He gave them yesterday's revenge!

Plot:  Young American Indian gets out of the army and returns home to find his tribe victimized by a white rancher.

Quotes:  Johnny Firecloud:  You have the balls of a mouse!

exciting and violent exploitation flick., 31 March 2004
Author: bukakkefriedchicken from fabulous Las Vega$!

Johnny is a much picked-on Native American in a small desert town that is "owned" by a bigoted rancher. When Johnny is is pushed to his limit after the murder of his grandfather, he exacts a brutal and bloody vengeance...Red Man style! This exploitive vehicle does not approach its sensitive race issues with the greatest of grace or respectability, but it certainly provides some good trashy thrills in that distinct 1970s drive-in way. Production values are slightly above average for this type of fare, and most of the performances are surprisingly strong. Interesting, too, is the presence of Sacheen Littlefeather in a minor role....

Overall, pretty enjoyable. 5.5/10

The Best Thing David F. Friedman Ever Produced, 15 February 2002
Author: Robot Rancher from Texas

I always saw David F. Friedman as basically a low budget Roger Corman. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed many of the David Friedman classics (such as Two Thousand Maniacs and She Freak), but those films paled in comparison next to the wraith of Johnny Firecloud.

The movie plays out like Charles Bronson's Deathwish, only more violent. The bad guys, a group of country fried bigots lead by head bigot Mr. Colby, are truly wicked. This wickedness, which includes rape, murder, and torturing of the elderly, is truly disturbing, but in the long run makes the bad guy's deaths even more enjoyable to watch. The good guys (Johnny Firecloud, the Sheriff, and Chief White Eagle), have qualities that make them likable as heroes, but also flaws that make them seem more human (like White Eagle's drinking problem, and the inner turmoil faced by the Sheriff caused by his "sexual secret"). But with any David Friedman film, the main draw is the gore, and this film has it...boy does it have it.

Granted, there are flaws, mainly in the acting. Sacheen Littlefeather gives a rather stiff performance and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, some of the bad guys tend to put on the southern act a little too thick.

So with that said, Robot Rancher's Final Score is a big 7 points. A solid film with enough eye gouging, scalp lifting, crotch socking violence to keep any David Friedman fan happy.
Comment:  An Indian veteran returns from war and uses his military skills to become a savage warrior. That would have to be a contender for the most unoriginal Native-themed plot in modern fiction. It's probably been done hundreds of times.

This is one movie I won't be adding to my Netflix queue.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.


dmarks said...

The plot reminded me a little of the first Rambo movie, "First Blood", which I found to be an OK movie, actually. And the guy who went berzerk was not a Native....

Oh wait. I figured I would check that out first.

"John Rambo was born on July 6, 1947 in Bowie, Arizona to a Native American Navajo father (R. Rambo according to the last film) and an Italian American mother (Marie Dragoo)."

You addressed this briefly before here.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I disagree with "Robot Rancher from TX" on the petty notion that the Sheriff in the film is "a good guy".

Hardly, since in the beginning of the film they decided to stop Johnny on false pretences(a classic case of racial profiling). And proceeded to kick his tail light as a doctored up excuse for stopping him. And more disturbing is the very fact that they didn't try to stop the intentional killing of Johnny's grandfather right outside the Sheriffs office, and more so, they didn't even try to arrest the individuals involved in the murder.

'A good guy" my a**.

I give this movie a good 8 on the richer scale. Because it shows the realities of racism, bigotry and anti-indian sentiment still in existent in many bordertowns. Especially in Rapid City.

A classic "Rambo" type revenge? Sure, why not??? When you got a Sheriff who doesn't uphold the law. One would probably take Justice into his own hands as Johnny did. And that exactly what he did. He didn't display any "savagery" before all this turn of events unfolded on him. I'm sure any guy would be pissed when you have pack of imbecile inbreeds killing those you love the most, especially if they're getting away with it. This rarity will always be one my faves.

Its quite pathetic that Rob didn't put this one on his famous "Indian list".


Anonymous said...

Once again, this movie is ahead of its time. Even after 40 years since its release, the racist epic still lives on.

Which is why no other movie of its era told the harsh realities only dimwits would deny.

Also, the "Vietnam Vet" topic is very little or any pivotal points in the film is mentioned, its virtually non-existent. There's was no flash backs sequence, or the usual signs of PTSD and the ills associated with it(substance abuse/alcoholism etc).

But in any given case, this movie is top-notch.


Rob said...

I don't know which famous "Indian list" you mean, Geno. If you mean my Native movie list, I added Johnny Firecloud as I said I would.