Gator comes across more as a goofy remake of White Lightning than a proper sequel, with its premise being much the same as the original; a corrupt southern county has the government worried so they send Gator McKlusky undercover to root out the bad guys, but with a lot more comic hijinks this time around. The tone of this movie is completely all over the map; it veers from such moments as Gator hilariously out maneuvering the cops in a boat chase to a grim scene where Gator is confronted with a 15 year old prostitute hooked on drugs, not to mention the death toll among Gator’s friends.
The original White Lightning was drama highlighted by some cool action sequences while Gator doesn’t seem to know if it’s an action movie, a drama or a slapstick comedy. Though the movie does tip us off to what kind of film we’re getting into by its opening theme song, “The Ballad of Gator McKlusky” written and sung by Jerry Reed. You know what you’re in for when you have such insightful lyrics as “Everything’s okey-dokey in the Okefenokee.”
Or they at least won’t catch stuntman Hal Needham.
He may be “Meanest man ever to hit the swamp” but he certainly isn’t the brightest.
“Don’t mind me, I’m just looking for Roman Polanski.”
Jack Weston, enemy of balloons everywhere.
“Gator, is that a hair piece or a muskrat napping on your head?”
“Fee-fi-fo-fum I smell the blood of Southern chum.”
“Jinkies, it looks like the Ghost of Swamp Holler is in fact Old Man Whitherspoon!”
Well that took a nasty turn.
Trivia Note: Sterling Archer, from the brilliant animated show Archer, is a huge Burt Reynolds fan and considers Gator to be the stronger installment. Take that for what you will.