The first time was for his ancient Indian burial ground! The second time was for his wife’s miscarriage! Now, Thunder is back for his biggest, most destructive revenge mission of all! When the local yokels destroyed Thunder’s RV park, they should have made sure he was in the camper, too!
No longer is Thunder hampered by holding down a full time job as a sheriff’s deputy where his avenging time might be taken up by foiling bank robberies or rousting transvestites that are sleeping off last night’s drag ball in the local warehouse! His sole occupation is single-minded maniacal payback!
Mark Gregory returns again as the Indian who just wants to stare vacantly around his Arizona hometown, but every white guy in the state insists on discriminating against him and wrecking whatever is important to him at that moment!
You would think that after Thunder destroyed his hometown two previous times that the last thing the townies would do is so much as lose a piece of Thunder’s mail. But here they are again riding around in the desert, shooting wild horses, chasing after little Indian kids and blowing up the shanty town village where Thunder lives!
If everyone in town is a moron (including Thunder for constantly coming back), one guy has finally demonstrated some smarts as we find that Bo Svenson is no longer the sheriff after two tours of duty that saw his jail demolished twice and several thousand of his department’s police cars obliterated.
Taking his place as the “name” actor in the movie is John Philip Law who plays the new sheriff. He settles in nicely to the role and clearly subscribes to the “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of replacement acting as his sheriff is exactly the same as Bo’s. He doesn’t want any trouble, but he also will grudgingly enforce the law. At least once Thunder has left half the town a smoking crater.
After the bad guys terrorize his community, drag Thunder behind their truck (it’s no big deal to Thunder since that already happened to him in Thunder), and whip him, Thunder turns to the sheriff for help. He shows the sheriff his whip marks and presents a bill for $56,000 that he wants the bad guys to pay back!
Without any hard evidence though that it was this group of upstanding citizens that use their weekends to practice genocide, there’s nothing that can be done. Well, nothing that can be done by a paleface sheriff!
Thunder then embarks on his hour long rampage. He trashes a guy’s classic car. He trashes and burns a guy’s store. He even blows up a bunch of used cars!
In one of his best bits of carnage, he pulls up to a gas station and starts filling up a trash can! At first I thought Thunder was just too stupid to realize that the gas went in his truck, but then he chucks a lit cigar into the trash can as he pulls away, causing a conflagration that likes of which we haven’t seen since a gas station was blown up in the first Thunder movie!
Thunder’s wife makes an appearance long enough only to be kidnapped and used as bait, but things go horribly awry for kidnappers when Thunder shows up with a tribe of Indian warriors to free her!
Some may question where his warrior pals were earlier when Thunder was on the warpath and where they disappear to later when Thunder makes his final assault on the bad guys, but it isn’t like Thunder can’t handle all this himself anyway. Besides, what would you rather watch? A bunch of Indians riding around town on some stupid horses or Thunder jumping cars in the middle of street on his dirt bike?
The Thunder trilogy comes to satisfying conclusion as Thunder gets in a car chase on his dirt bike with the leaders of the local thugs who started this whole business. Jumps are inexplicably made, almost as if anytime a car got in Thunder’s way, the car came equipped with a ramp!
Cars are destroyed and Thunder almost kills a fat guy hiding in a coffin before the sheriff allows Thunder to steal the proceeds from the church fundraiser that was held for the local shopping center. Despite the fundraiser appearing as if it would’ve have lucky to raise ten bucks from the hot dogs it was selling, Thunder is somehow able to hand over stacks of hundred dollar bills to his people for rebuilding!
The usual non-performance by Gregory and the mindless destructive violence you come to expect from this series are both here. Director Fabrizio De Angelis stumbles a bit with his horrid use of exploding and burning models in some scenes and it makes you wish that he had consulted with Antonio Margheriti (The Ark Of The Sun God, Jungle Raiders) on how not to embarrass himself when using them.
Still, Fabrizio redeems himself with utterly pointless scenes like when two deputies stumble upon a topless sunbather while going after Thunder’s kid sidekick. There’s also the silly scheme where one of the bad guy’s shoots himself in an effort to claim his gang was provoked into going OK Corral on Thunder’s house while Thunder hid inside. If Thunder is a wanted man for destroying most of the town, how is it that the bad guys can just go out to his house and find him?
A bit of a retread of the first movie, but with Thunder using different vehicles and weapons (a baseball bat instead of a bazooka? Are we having budget problems?), Thunder III gives us exactly what we want from Thunder: loads of hate-fueled emotionless Mark Gregory induced violence executed in a slightly different way each time, but maintaining a high volume of car wrecks!
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