Friday, April 27, 2012

Mr. No Legs (1979)

“Mr. No Legs” would have benefited from focusing more on the main attraction. Mr. No Legs (Ted Vollrath) isn’t even the main villain. He works for D’Angelo (Lloyd Bochner), who leads a drug ring. They smuggle cocaine throughout the country by hiding it in cornstalk (which would make for a radically different version of “Children of the Corn”).When one of their workers accidentally kills his girlfriend, they cover it up to look like an overdose and dispose of their worker. The victim’s brother, Andy (Ron Slinker), is a cop who catches wind of the incident. With his partner, Chuck (Richard Jaeckel), they track the drug lords down. This is when the films becomes a standard, rudimentary action drama. It follows the basic principles a crime drama would. Andy slips into depression, his wife is a bitch who constantly complains, his partner tries his best to understand his dilemma and Andy conveys his anger through destroying an entire bar.
There are two scenes that are worthwhile in “Mr. No Legs”. One would be the aforementioned bar scene. Andy goes in to investigate, only to discover a catfight has broken out (unfortunately, Joey Styles wasn’t present). When everybody discovers that Andy’s a cop, they all charge for him. He picks them off one by one. This includes chucking a few men through walls. The other scene involves Mr. No Legs himself. When a dispute between Lou (his actual name) and a few of his cohorts breaks out, a fight ensues. This all takes place by the pool, which sees Lou dunked into the water. This doesn’t stop him from pounding away on his adversaries and drowning them. He also displays his amazing karate kills, which Ted Vollrath has a black belt in real life.
There is also a car chase near the end that’s mildly exciting. Ricou Browning lets it run on for too long, causing it to lose steam. It starts out fast, then starts to move at a snail’s pace. The only clever thing about it is seeing the reactions of the pedestrians whose cars and trailers are accidentally demolished by policeman. Other than that, standard stuff. One way to improve this film would have been to make Mr. No Legs the main protagonist. Have him be the cop whose sister is murdered by drug lords. We all came to see him do his thing. Why not allow us to cheer for him? You can still get away with the guns and shooting stars attached to his wheelchair. He’d be a cop out for vengeance who isn’t afraid to bend the rules for justice. Screenwriter Jack Cowden missed a golden opportunity there. Instead, we’re treated to your average action film. Drug lords antagonize the local cops, chaos ensues, yadda yadda yadda. It does have Mr. No Legs himself to thank, as he does give the film it’s own unique flavor. It simply never utilizes him enough to fully stand out from the pact.
MVT: Ted Vollrath as Mr. No Legs. He is fun to watch and adds a unique flavor to the film. Only if we got to see more of him. Make or Break: I’m going to say the standard tone of the film slightly breaks it. Outside of the bar and pool scene, this has a “been there, done that” feel to it. Final Score: 5.25/10

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