A prison drama which focuses on guards rather than prisoners and which reeks of a sort of late-1960s, counter-culture existentialism, pic seems oddly out of time and place. Producer-director-writer James B. Harris, hasn’t really pulled it all together into a meaningful finished work.
James Woods plays ‘Fast-Walking’ Miniver, a self-described redneck with little on his mind, who smokes dope even on his job as a prison guard. On the side he drums up business for small-time madam Susan Tyrrell. In due course, Woods becomes involved in two interconnecting plots brewing within the penitentiary walls. First, being engineered by his weird cousin Tim McIntire, involves the assassination of a newly-arrived Black militant (Robert Hooks), while the other is a competing scheme to spring Hooks.
He becomes at the same time implicated in McIntire’s affairs when he takes up with his g.f. Kay Lenz, and in the blacks’ plot by the promise of $50,000 once Hooks escapes. It’s a dirty, no-good world, to be sure.
Woods is always interesting to watch, even if his character suffers most from not growing in the course of the drama. In a very strange part, McIntire again proves he’s a commanding, offbeat actor, too little seen.