Have Cheetah,Will View #273 – “Shadow of the Hawk” (1976)

Its 12:23 pm
gray/damp

Recently a favorite actor of mine was brought up in the comment section of a review. The actor’s name is Jan-Michael Vincent and he was a big star in the 70s on the big screen and with the popular show “Airwolf” in the 80s,he became a big TV star as well. But the Hollywood life caught up with Vincent and his career went up his nose as drugs and alcohol destroyed him. It was and is a real shame because he really was a commanding presence on the screen,both big and small.

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What is strange is I have been waiting to get a copy of “Nightwing” from our contact “H” Mill Creek Entertainment and was pleasantly surprised to not only get it this week but that it came as a double feature with “Shadow of the Hawk” starring none other then Jan-Michael Vincent.  Since we had been talking about him and the fact I had never watched “Shadow of the Hawk”,the cheetah and I decided we would watch it first.

The film opens up in the Pacific Northwest in a small Indian village. Old Man Hawk (Chief Dan George) is an elderly shaman in the same village. While doing his various duties,he senses he is being targeted by a mystical enemy. He also knows he is no longer strong enough to protect himself or village from the attacker.
He packs up a bag,grabs his staff and starts walking toward Seattle where his grandson Michael lives.

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We then meet Michael (Vincent) who works at a computer data center (wait til you see the computers!). He has a good job,a cool loft and a hot girlfriend. Life is quite good for the young man.
After a long journey,Old Man Hawk finally reaches Seattle. While he has Michael’s address,the noise and size of the city is overwhelming and he gets lost. Not only but his enemy is seen launching yet another mystic attack,it looks like a voodoo style of attack with a priestess stabbing a doll of Old Man Hawk. The attack knocks out the shaman who is then taken to a hospital.

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Maureen (Marilyn Hassett) is a freelance reporter who is hanging out at the hospital hoping to find a story. Seeing a elderly man dressed in Indian clothing attracts Maureen’s attention and watches as the ER doctors try and stabilize the old man but they don’t know why he is sick or what caused it.
Once they leave the hospital room,Old Man Hawk opens his eyes and begins a counter-spell.
Maureen,standing at the admissions desk is shocked to see Old Man Hawk fully dressed and walking out the hospital,she follows him asking him how he is able to be fully healed. Instead of answering her,he asks her if he knows where Michael’s place is at,handing her his grandson’s address.

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The two then drive to Michael’s place where he is hosting a party. He is surprised and pleased to see his grandfather,its been over 12 years since he last saw him. Expecting the old man to stay for a visit,Michael is dismayed when Old Man Hawk asks Michael to take him home tonight! Michael says he cannot,he is hosting his party….the village is 300 miles away!! He offers to take the old man to the bus depot,its the best he can do.
While disappointed,Old Man Hawk seems resigned to his fate and accepts the ride,Maureen comes along as Michael drops him off.
Maureen then talks Michael into taking his grandfather home,he knows she is right and races back to the bus depot.

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Old Man Hawk is happy to see them and they begin  the long trip home. As the trio heads the long 300 mile trip home,they are attacked from all sides by various threats both magical and psychical. As they try to survive,Old Man Hawk reveals his secret on why he made the long trip and why he needs his grandson’s help.
Having Maureen along doesn’t hurt as she and Michael almost instantly become attracted to each other (despite the girlfriend who is left hosting the party and locking up Michael’s loft!!!)
Michael is about to face the longest day and night in his life facing forces he doesn’t understand much less believe in……..

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Did we like “Shadow of the Hawk”? Well,the first thing I took away from it was it played like a TV movie. The budget is pretty small and while there are a couple of cool effects,a scene where Michael squares off with a bear is completely cheesy as it shows a man in a suit and then a stuffed bear that Jan-Michael is shown stabbing. That had us both laughing.
Michael is not exactly a spiritual type,he barely knows Maureen but is already trying to hit on her despite having a long term girlfriend.
The various attacks are done well other then the bear and are effective. The acting is solid as everyone tries their best with the material they are given with. Jan-Michael Vincent shows the on screen charisma he would be known for while Marilyn Hassett,whose career got off to a nice start with winning a Golden Globe as she played paralyzed skier Jill Kinmont in “The Other Side of the Mountain” in 1975. For some reason her career stalled and she really never fulfilled her promise.
Chief Dan George basically steals the movie as Old Man Hawk,while playing the role straight,he also seems to know that the script,written by a white man,is full of cheese as well.
I would recommend getting “Shadow of the Hawk” only from Mill Creek Entertainment because they have paired it with the vastly superior “Nightwing”.  This will make a perfect Saturday night watch for teens and adults.
You can buy a copy of this BluRay release by going here on Amazon. .

The cheetah and I both gave “Shadow of the Hawk” a tomahawk chop.
This film is rated “PG” and a run time of 92 minutes.

Do you have a favorite 70s movie that we should check out?
Drop a comment below.

5 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #273 – “Shadow of the Hawk” (1976)

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