Rambo III

Early on, and finally, a cultivated study of Lawrence of Arabia.

There are also elements of Red Dawn and Braddock: Missing in Action III.

The final duel recalls the one proposed by Gen. Patton between himself and Rommel, in tanks.



The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave

“Do they get this show in Philadelphia?”, Steve Allen would be asked. “They see it,” he would reply, “but they don’t get it.” The field is strewn with films the critics just didn’t get, but some they never got to see in the first place because, even in a studio like M-G-M, the executives just didn’t get them either.

Here’s an example. Howard Hughes seems to have started the trend by putting Josef von Sternberg’s Jet Pilot on ice, and it doesn’t seem in accord with the faceless committeedom of New Hollywood to indulge in such buccaneer tactics, but tell that to Ritchie, Schrader, Furie et al. In the old days, when you didn’t like a thing, you cut it up and put it out for the people to judge (Welles, Leone), or else in extreme circumstances you sacked the guy (Stroheim). Art is a rough-and-tumble business, just ask Super Dave Osborne.

It’s New Year’s Eve at the Millennium, Super Dave has a colossal stunt in view. He’s to be fired at a trampoline on the ceiling of an arena, from which he’ll bounce back down to a matching trampoline on the ground, bounce back up and so forth, two thousand times. A crowd full of celebrities is asked to count along, a computer guides his trajectory, he flies through the air, hits the upper trampoline and crashes right through it and the arena roof, after which he’s lost to sight.

This is a development from Friz Freleng’s Show Biz Bugs. Eventually Super Dave comes back down, misses the lower trampoline and, nearly unconscious, is crushed by the descending light ball. On his way to the hospital, he’s told his business manager has left him broke.

So, the gag line on Hal Needham’s Hooper is set up, with a protégé called Super Dave, Jr. out to best the master, and a view of Super Dave’s Stunt Academy and Amusement Park minus the repossessed rides (though trams still carry tourists to see the sights that once were there).

There’s a widow and her ailing son, a vicious promoter (“you don’t know the half of it,” says Super Dave), and a comeback stunt to end all comeback stunts, a rocket car leaping a half-mile of other vehicles.

Dan Hedaya as the promoter is a vivid, comprehensive and accurate study. Carl Michael Lindner is an excellent child actor, a natural for the humor. Super Dave’s crew is sublime as ever, and the great gag at the close of the rocket leap won’t be revealed here.