Monday, May 3, 2010


What can you say about a movie when the best things in it are the Kris Kristofferson songs on the soundtrack and Gene Hackman's 70s porn mustache?

The plot is similar to a lot of crime movies, where the retired master thief is blackmailed into pulling another job. In Cisco Pike, Kris plays a down on his luck musician who has recently been busted for selling dope and has quit dealing. A crooked cop (Gene Hackman) blackmails Kris back into dealing some marijuana that Hackman has stolen. Kris must sell enough of Hackman's stolen dope to raise $10,000 in just a few days and Hackman promises he will make the bust go away.

The rest of Cisco Pike mostly concerns itself with Kris selling dope to different individuals and showing the pains that he has to go through to make the sales and collect the money. At the same time he is trying to conceal what he is doing from his girl friend (Karen Black who is basically playing her character from "Five Easy Pieces").

Some of the Kris' notable clients include: Buffalo (Antonio Fargas best known as Huggy Bear from Starksy and Hutch) who is going to help Kris move a large amount of the dope; Doug Sahm playing a musician called Rex - basically Doug plays Doug and does a damn good job at it (see second video below); Hugh Rommey (Wavy Gravy) in a deal with Kris to sell to a secretive commune and almost getting caught in the process; and Viva of Andy Warhol fame, who eventually helps Kris when all hope appears lost.

Harry Dean Stanton playing an old musician pal of Kris' shows up about three quarters of the way into the movie. He's strung out on dope, recently divorced from his wife and his life is just a mess. Harry Dean Stanton is of course, one of the great character actors of all time and he is nothing less than stellar in his performance in Cisco Pike. A little inside joke in the movie has Harry Dean and Kris talking about getting their band back together. They comment that they want to be sure to get Billy Swan and Donnie Fritts, both who actually were members of Kris Krisofferson's real life band.

Kris had only been in one movie before this, but this was his first starring role and he did a fine job. Of course, playing a laid back musician probably didn't tax any acting skills he might have possessed at the time, but it was nice to catch him at the start of his 90+ movie career.

The real reason I rented this movie was that I've always been a fan of Doug Sahm and he only appeared in two acting roles, here in this movie and later in American Graffiti 2. It was great to see Doug in Cisco Pike, even though the total movie was on the dull side. I would recommend a rental if you're a fan of Doug's, otherwise you can see Kris in a lot better movies.

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