* * *
Directed by: Gordon Hessler
Starring: Robert Ginty, Kathy Shower, Tom Badal, Dewaal Stemmit, and Sydney Lassick
John Dee (Ginty) is a drifter who isn’t looking for trouble, but trouble always seems to find him. He rides the rails into the dusty ol’ town of Fairfield (we don’t know what State it’s set in, but the movie was shot in Johannesburg, South Africa) and instantly runs afoul of the corrupt cops, led by Sheriff Taggart (Badal). Dee forges a relationship with innkeeper Sally Anne Lewis (Shower) and her mute son Jimmy (Dewaal Stemmit), and just while they’re learning to love John Dee, he gets put into the local jail and needs local attorney Otis T. Smiley (Lassick) to defend him. But John Dee is a man who can defend himself, so to clear his good name and get to the bottom of the conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, he takes the law in his own hands. But will he be OUT ON BAIL long enough to get to the truth?
Out On Bail is fan-favorite Robert Ginty at his best. He delivers an intense performance and the audience grows to really like him. Under the direction of Gordon Hessler, an experienced guy who also directed Sho Kosugi at his best with Pray For Death (1985), and another Sho vehicle, Rage Of Honor (1987), among many other things, he brings out the best in Ginty. The movie itself has a cool, tough vibe, and is underrated. Despite a valley of slowness in the middle (brought on by its slightly excessive running time), a DVD release should be in order, because this is a film more people really should see.
Besides the great Ginty, Tom Badal puts in an excellently smarmy and hate-able performance as Taggart. It’s always nice to see Kathy Shower as well, and, as if her name subconsciously leads to this, there’s a shower scene with her (yay!) and Ginty (boo). Sydney Lassick is also a name that continually pops up. Take The Art Of Dying (1991), for example. His personality is pretty funny and wacky - he truly was the Rich Fulcher of his day. Plus the fact that his name is Otis T. Smiley should tell you all you need to know about his character. But Out On Bail on the whole is not comical, It’s just Lassick who provides a bit of comic relief at times.
The movie has a great opening, and it’s hard to maintain that energy level throughout the entire film. There are plenty of stunts with shreddin’ guitars behind them, both at the beginning and the The Gauntlet (1977) - inspired ending. Out On Bail does inDeed deliver the goods, as it’s a well-written and executed action film, that packs a surprising emotional punch as well. We give our full blessing to this highly entertaining film.
Released on the TransWorld label, and featuring the end credits song, “Now You Want To Leave” by Bridget Michele, Out On Bail is worth seeking out.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett