Even in the tiny genre of films based on songs, Convoy is a strange effort--CW McCall's 1977 CB radio-themed novelty hit was just a collection of trucker slang, but here it is gussied up by Sam Peckinpah (no less) as a big rig reprise of The Wild Bunch with Kris Kristofferson as trucker outlaw hero Rubber Duck and a wonderfully oversized Ernest Borgnine as "Dirty Lyle", the "bear" who hates "breakers" and finally decides to call in the National Guard to help him enforce traffic laws with machine guns. The plot is almost invisible, as Rubber Duck and his breaker buddies just up and decide to trundle their lorries across the Western States in a dash for Mexico (no one ever mentions delivering their loads to intended destinations) and becoming such a folk hero that the creepy governor (Seymour Cassell) tries to cash in. Kristofferson and Borgnine were old Peckinpah hands, as is heroine Ali MacGraw (a characterless photographer) and sidekick Burt Young ("Love Machine" aka "Pigpen"), and there's a lot of business about cops and outlaws who mirror each other, but the main attraction is the visuals--huge trucks rolling across desert roads in clouds of dust, police cars crashing through billboards, trucks demolishing a corrupt small town. There are traces of road-movie melancholia in the depressed cafes, jails and laybys where free spirits are broken, but it's still mostly a cash-in on Smokey and the Bandit with a few rags of poetry tossed into the mix.
On the DVD: A letterboxed print, enhanced for 16x9, looks pretty good, with enough widescreen to get all the trucks into the image. But otherwise this is the sort of release that passes off "chapter search" and "multilingual menus" as extras, although there are basic filmographies for the principal and a poster/photo album. The mono soundtrack comes in English, French, Spanish and Italian. --Kim Newman