Smokey and the Bandit Part 3
Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (originally titled Smokey IS the Bandit) (or Smokey and the Bandit III) is the third and final film in the Smokey and the Bandit franchise. The film stars Jerry Reed, Jackie Gleason, Pat McCormick, Colleen Camp, Mike Henry and a small appearance by the late Burt Reynolds.
The film starts off with a Star Wars-like opening that reads "Once upon a time, there was a famous Sheriff. It was not so long ago in our very own galaxy..." and shows black and white footage of various scenes that were in the first two films. Instead of focusing on the real Bandit, the first half of the film somewhat focuses more on Buford T. Justice planning to retire instead of catching the Bandit. Buford gives his retirement speech in a Patton like tone and tells about how he felt about being a law enforcement officer. But, before Buford can finish his speech, Big Enos Burdette and Little Enos interrupt Buford's retirement speech and try to convince him to race the Bandit and he'll earn a $250,000 reward for delivering a plastic shark from Miami to Texas in order to promote their new seafood chain. Buford refuses the offer and proclaims his retirement.
Buford then takes off to Florida where he spends quality time with Junior. Shortly thereafter, Buford decides to get back at Big Enos and Little Enos and accept the challenge for $250,000. Meanwhile, Big Enos and Little Enos come up with various plans to mess up Buford's mission to win $250,000 like pulling a milk tanker out to block Buford's path. Unfortunately, the first plan backfires after Buford crashes his car through the tanker causing Big Enos' Cadillac to temporarily stall after being flooded with milk. After the Enos’ first plan failed, Big Enos tells Little Enos to call the Bandit to tell him challenge Buford for the $250,000 prize. The only problem is the real Bandit is unavailable and is presumably spending time with Carrie (Sally Fields' character from the first two films). So, the Bandit's trucker friend, Cledus Snow or "The Snowman" is the only person available. Cledus gets the call from the Enos boys and is eager to do the job and is excited that he'll get to drive the Trans-Am and dress up like the Bandit.
Cledus then takes off as the Bandit and has a good time dodging police cars and also does what the real Bandit always does - drive fast and show off. A used car dealership woman dressed as a cowgirl named Dusty Trails is fed up with her job and she decides to dump her job and go with Cledus, almost similar to when the original Bandit picked up Carrie after she dumped Junior in the first film. Cledus picks up the plastic shark several times and pass through a sand manufacturing area. Later, Cledus drops by a biker bar to pick up some food for Dusty since she didn't have any breakfast.
The chase then continues on through the city and later when it gets dark, Cledus is chased at a thrill show. After the thrill show is over, Cledus and Dusty check in to a hotel. Buford and Junior find the shark. As Junior takes care of handling the shark, Buford finds a figure in the steam room with a cowboy hat on and he thinks that he found the Bandit. The person with the cowboy hat on isn't the Bandit. It turns out the person he apprehended is a nymphomaniac woman named Tina and she is for some odd reason crazy about Buford and no matter how many times he says no, Tina chases Buford throughout the rest of their journey. Buford dodges some cows and then she goes away for a while.
It later cuts to the climax where Big Enos and Little Enos have planted some explosives to try and destroy Buford's car and make him lose. After the car is blown up, it than just turns into almost nothing and Junior has to hold the lights that were on top of the car. Buford and Celdus arrive at the Burdette Mansion. Buford wins the $250,000 prize and accepts it.
Later, Cledus tells Dusty that he's not really the Bandit and that he's using his outfit to trick Buford. The Trans-Am temporarily stalls and then Buford shows up and he sees in his mind the Burt Reynolds version of The Bandit. The Bandit than tells Buford that both he and Buford have a bunch of things in common and later says to Buford that he could give him a five minute head start to chase him. Buford refuses the offer to chase him and then inadvertently states to the Bandit that he'll give him a five minute head start and than he drives off. Tina shows up again and she pushes Junior off his seat and takes his place as Buford's new passenger. The film closes with Buford driving off and leaving Junior behind as he repeatedly shouts "Wait Daddy!" like he did in the first film. The only difference is Junior's carrying money and inadvertently leaves behind the prize money and continues chasing him until the end credits roll in showing scenes from the film and closes with an image of Buford in the Patton like scene.
- The original idea was to have Jackie Gleason play both Buford and the Bandit and originally went under the title Smokey IS the Bandit (see in next section) , but test audiences didn't like the original idea and half of the film had to be reshot with Jackie Gleason as Buford and Jerry Reed as The Bandit.
- The film completely ignores the events of the preceding films, although black and white footage from the first two films are shown at the beginning.
- The performances are poorly done.
- The humor is a lot more juvenile (eg. when a boat that Buford is riding on crashes, he flies through the air and lands at a nudist camp) compared to the first two which had humor that wasn't really that crude. But in this one, there are tons of jokes that are incredibly crude.
- Junior's imbecilic behavior is at its worst.
- Burt Reynolds isn't in the film, despite his brief cameo appearance near the end of the film.
- Sally Field is absent in the film and her character isn't mentioned in any parts of the film, although she is seen for a few seconds in one of the flashback scenes from the first film where she drives the Trans-Am onto the football field.
- Clichéd Star Wars-like opening text talking about Buford T. Justice with pointless black and white footage from the first two films. (mentioned in plot)
- The second opening is a rip-off of the Oscar winning film Patton.
- How do the Enos boys even know about Buford? Neither the Bandit nor Cledus told them about Buford.
- The film is almost a rehash of the first film, except it has Jerry Reed as the Bandit and not Burt Reynolds.
- In response to Hal Needham’s refusal to make a third film and Burt Reynolds refusal to return as the star, Universal Studios hired Dick Lowry, a director who did made-for-TV films (including the 1999 film Atomic Train) to direct the film. Lowry also makes a cameo in the film as a construction worker who covers Buford's car up with sand.
- Almost all of the original cast members chose not to return (especially Burt Reynolds and Sally Field), which made most fans of the first two films extremely disappointed.
- The film is FULL of major plotholes (including a scene where Little Enos tells Buford that he'll make his badge into a belt buckle if he loses the race).
- Ku Klux Klan members are seen trying to run a chicken truck being driven by two African-Americans off the road. Luckily, their plan backfires when they crash their own pickup into a trailer full of hot oil and get covered with chicken feathers.
- Annoying supporting characters like Tina (played by Faith Minton), a nymphomaniac woman who chases after Buford after he stops at the hotel where the Snowman and Dusty are staying in (mentioned in the plot).
- Poorly written storyline.
- A bunch of nonsensical dialogue.
- Buford's ill-mannered attitude is a lot worse than it was in the first two films, especially when he gives the finger to several characters including an elderly woman who’s learning how to drive.
- It isn't explained why Buford is retiring from law enforcement.
- The film has a lot of good country music, especially the opening song Buford T. Justice sung by country singer Ed Bruce and the closing song Ticket for the Wind sung by the late John Stewart.
- The car chases and crashes were good.
- The film has a good '80s vibe in terms of other music genres (eg. Suzi Plastic by rock singer Bill Summers.)
- Some of the dialogue is so awful that it makes the film somewhat amusing (eg. when Little Enos tells Buford "I'd like to kick your #$@!" and when Buford replies with "You can't kick that high, cricket crotch!").
- Mort Engelberg, who produced the first two films, did a decent job producing this film.
- The scene where the Klan members' plan on hurting black truckers backfired and crashed their pickup in a trailer full of hot oil and get covered in oil and chicken feathers were pretty amusing.
- Jerry Reed was a pretty good reverse role as The Bandit since Burt Reynolds was working with Hal Needham on Stroker Ace.
- The new Trans-Am looked awesome and it looked similar to the one that would later be seen in the hit series Knight Rider, another part of Universal's awesome '80s cars.
- Taking a plastic shark was pretty interesting.
- The boat chase between Buford and Cledus was fun.
- Jackie Gleason is still amusing, despite the awkwardness of the film's premise.
- The ending was funny and was in some ways a nod to the first film.
- Seeing Burt Reynolds make a cameo near the end was nice, since he is the Bandit.
- Junior was pretty funny too.
- Cledus and Dusty have beautiful chemistry.
- The light blue paint scheme on Buford’s police car looked pretty good, although most fans prefer the copper toned one.
- Big Enos and Little Enos return.
- Cledus' new Peterbilt truck was nice looking, despite his original truck being a Kenworth.
- Hal Needham was given credit for the "Based on characters..." statement at the beginning of the film.
Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 currently holds a 17% "rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes and received negative reviews from critics and fans of the first two films. The film also has a 3.5 on IMDb and was listed on Siskel & Ebert's Stinkers of 1983 show, which also included Jaws 3-D, Stroker Ace and Superman III.
The film opened at #10 on its limited opening weekend of August 12, 1983 with a domestic gross of $1,728,060. On its wide opening weekend of September 2, 1983, it opened up at #13 with a domestic gross of $1,301,800. The film later made a total domestic gross of $5,678,950. Overall, the film made a total of $7,000,000 against its $9 million budget making it a box office bomb.
- In 2010, a trailer for the unreleased (and possibly original) version of the film surfaced on YouTube in 2010. That same year, an image of Jackie Gleason as the Bandit surfaced on the web (see in references list).which was proven evidence that the film was going to have the original title (see in Videos section).
- This was Dick Lowry's only theatrical film.
- Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds turned down making a third film to make Stroker Ace.