R Dir: Michael Cimino | Kino Video | 1h 55min
Plot: What’s it about?
I stumbled upon Thunderbolt and Lightfoot randomly several years back at a used video store which is no longer open. I hadn’t heard of the film, but with stars like Jeff Bridges and Clint Eastwood, I did a random blind buy purchase. I can’t recall my initial thoughts, and I no longer have the old DVD, so reviewing this was a nice time to revisit the film. Ultimately this film has its moments, but it just didn’t win me over like I wanted it to. It’s one of those films that has a lot of stuff happening, but very little is going on.
When the film begins we meet Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood) as he is preaching in a small church out in the country. Before long a man enters the church and begins shooting at Thunderbolt who is also known as Preacher. We learn that Thunderbolt is a former thief and clearly he’s upset the wrong person. When he meets the young Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) he decides to get back into the criminal world. The two men are planning on robbing the Montana Armored Depository. Two other men, Red Leary (George Kennedy) and Eddie Goody (Geoffrey Lewis) enter the picture and they’re Thunderbolt’s former partners, but we’re never quite sure how things will play out. Lightfoot has a way of getting under Red’s skin and there’s some tension between the two. All this leads to the robbery where one will just have to watch to see how the events unfold.
Thunderbolt certainly has a bust plot, but I found the majority of the film boring and disengaging. In short, I just couldn’t get into it. It’s the sort of film that I wanted to like and wanted to go along with, but I just couldn’t. It’s always nice seeing Bridges and Eastwood, and the film does have that cool 70’s look and feel, but beyond that, I found it lacking. Much of it meanders and while we get plenty of action and car chases, I just couldn’t bring myself to care about it.
Video: How’s it look?
The case mentions this being a brand new 4K master and after the iffy early moments, it looks quite nice. The opening has some noticeable grain, but thankfully that doesn’t last very long. There’s a print flaw here and there, but otherwise this is a solid transfer that shows care went into making it look sharp. The image has a 2.35:1 ratio. Fans should be pleased with the results. This isn’t a great transfer, but it mostly succeeds.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We get a solid DTS HD 2.0 track that doesn’t leave a lot to be desired. Vocals have a strong presence to them and the track never felt lacking at all. Indeed we’re brought into this world and the track serves its purpose. There’s plenty of action in the film to keep the track busy and the listener engaged.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Film Critic Nick Pinkerton sits down to provide a running chat for the film, providing some useful tidbits for those curious.
- For the Love of Characters – Featurette with Michael Cimino – At just under half an hour, this segment is narrated by Cimino and he discusses various topics, such as Eastwood and how the project came to be. The format isn’t my favorite, but this feature is still worth checking out just for the information contained in it. We get a mix of stills and film clips as the narration plays over it.
- TV Spot – This includes 60 and 30 second ads for the film.
- 60 Second Radio Spot
- Trailers – In addition to the film’s trailer, we get trailers for a few other films from Kino.
The Bottom Line
I’ll be honest, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot did very little for me. It has moments of mild intrigue, but it seems like a film stuck in neutral with too many ideas and very little direction where it wants to take things. I just kept waiting to warm up to the film and to go with it, but that never happened. With all that being said, for fans of the film, this disc presents it in a nice manner and contains some useful supplements should you consider a purchase.