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Born Losers/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Born Losers
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In 1967, Tom Laughlin directed The Born Losers, the film that introduced movie audiences to his legendary character, the half-breed American Indian/war hero: Billy Jack. In this film, Billy Jack gets tangled up with some local bikers in the Los Angeles area. From what we learn, Billy Jack has recently returned from serving in Vietnam and now lives alone in a trailer making his living from selling wild horses he finds in the wilderness and also performing in California rodeo shows. A sexy runaway girl named Vicky (Elizabeth James) arrives in town and begins driving around on a motorcycle in a sexy white go-go type outfit. Pretty soon The Born Losers spot her and try to get her to become one of their "mamas". Vicky makes it seem like she's going to go along with it, but then escapes after clocking one of the bikers over the head with a metal pipe. The bikers chase after her and the mute biker appropriately named "Speechless" (Paul Prokop) rapes her.

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The subject of rape (of both the land and of human beings) is something that would show up again in the official Billy Jack feature film. You can see the influence Clint Eastwood had on Tom Laughlin as he plays Billy Jack much like The Man with No Name (he even wears a cowboy hat) with the biker gang as the crazy outlaws terrorizing the town. As noted on the DVD commentary for the film, Laughlin was Eastwood's roommate years earlier when they were both struggling actors.

The Born Losers is an entertaining biker film and you can see even at this time that Tom Laughlin was trying to inject his genre stories with more than just simply wild and crazy sequences. You'll also get those trademark Billy Jack confrontation scenes that are really fun to watch. I recommend this one to fans of the biker genre and of course longtime fans of Billy Jack.

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Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. He is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life.
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