Rolling Thunder

Production Year: 1977
Release Date: 05/28/2013
Studio: Shout/Scream Factory
Collection Number: 1027

After spending seven tortuous years in a Vietnam prison Major Charles Rane (William Devane) returns home to his family only to discover his son does not remember him and his wife will soon be marrying another man.  If that wasn't enough the now nearly soulless vet must wear a fake smile as he attends public affair after public affair praising him for his time spent as a POW.  Rane clearly has issues, so used to his daily routines of submission and torture that when a group of armed assailants show up to burglarize his home he doesn't seem to care.  Eventually the men take his hand, murder his family, and destroy whatever was left of his psyche.

The bandits made two mistakes that day...Mentioning a town where they would soon rendezvous and not finishing off Major Rane.  After a short stint in the local hospital Charles leaves fashioned with a new with a razor sharp hook where his hand once was and a mind haunted by sadistic revenge.  Rane sets out to Mexico to find the men who wronged him and anyone in his path had better take heed.

Rolling Thunder is one in a long line of Revenge/vigilante films that seemed to frequent the 70's and early 80's.  Taking an obvious 'Nam angle it certainly separates itself from the pack.  The film plays on the idea that while these men might finally return home, some of them have never really left Vietnam.  This idea really comes through thanks to Tommy Lee Jones and his minor part as Johnny, a man that also returned home with Major Rane, only seemingly more shaken from the events that took place overseas.  Though the part is small and Jones only has a handful of lines throughout, he somehow manages to steal the show.


The blu-ray looks decent, the PQ has a natural grain with good colors.  There are a handful of rough patches here and there and the film does suffer from the occasional bit of grit.  The audio presented is a mono DTS-HD 2.0 track.  The dialogue manages to be very clear while the fight scenes and gun shots all ring in very nicely.  Shout included a handful of extras, the most notable being 'a making of' featurette containing interviews with Devane, Jones, and a handful of others.  The featurette isn't too lengthy but does manage to be pretty informative along with giving some disappointing news; apparently they had to cut a shot of Devane's hand mutilation which was supposedly too graphic for audiences.  I'm guessing the cut scene was lost as it's no where to be found on this disc.  The other supplements include a trailer, TV spot, Radio Spots, and a stills gallery.


I found the film to be extremely satisfying which is something you look for in a revenge/vigilante film.  You want to see these men succeed and you want to see the bad guys get their comeuppance.  When Major Rane finds his way home after the hospital and begins to file down his hook things really take off and you know you're going to be in for a demented ride.  Rolling Thunder is one that is not to be missed and I'm a little embarrassed to admit this was my first time viewing the film.  Be sure to head to your local store and pick up a copy!

3 comments:

  1. I have never seen this, nor do I think I have heard of it. Just got added to the list. Awesome coverage as usual.

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    1. Thanks! If you're a fan of Vigilante type movies it's definitely not to be missed!

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