Friday, November 6, 2015

Delta Fox (1979)

The distinctive character actor Richard Lynch didn't play many leading roles in his career, largely because the burn scars marking his face and body contributed to his typecasting as a villain. Given his memorably florid performance style in films ranging from the poignant Scarecrow (1973) to the silly The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) and beyond, it's tempting to wonder what Lynch might have accomplished in parts with more dimensionality. Based on his work in the dreary exploitation flick Delta Fox, it seems fair to say that Lynch’s talents were not squandered in shallow roles. He plays a crook given a chance at both redemption and revenge if he helps the government capture a criminal overlord for tax evasion, so Delta Fox gives Lynch the opportunity to drive fast cars, engage in merciless brawls, hiss tough-guy dialogue, shoot big guns, and woo a sexy young woman. Unfortunately, Lynch is a dud as a leading man, posturing and preening his way through shootouts and verbal confrontations. Plus, with all due respect, it's creepy to watch the hulking actor get romantic with 18-years-younger leading lady Priscilla Barnes. In Lynch's defense, the movie surrounding him is so shoddy that no actor would have thrived in such surroundings. Written, produced, and directed by unapologetic hacks Beverly and Ferd Sebastian, Delta Fox is borderline incoherent, even though the opening scenes are smothered in explanatory onscreen text. Supporting characters drift in and out of the storyline, with bored-looking name actors including John Ireland, Richard Jaeckel, and Stuart Whitman phoning in colorless line readings. As for the basic plot, it’s a juvenile sex fantasy—after David “Delta” Fox (Lynch) escapes a double-cross, he kidnaps a pretty young landscaper named Karen (Barnes) for a hostage in order to avoid a police blockade. The two characters fall in love, even though he endangered her life and forced her to strip at gunpoint. Yet seeing as how the Sebastians try to pass off Los Angeles’ famous Bradbury Building as a New Orleans hotel, it’s not as if credibility was a priority here. Oh, and one more thing: Keener ears than mine would be able to confirm this, but I’m fairly sure the Sebastians stole a music cue from an old Ennio Morricone score for their main musical theme. Stay classy, Bev and Ferd!

Delta Fox: LAME

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