28 April 2003 | exoticafan
Slow-moving "action tale" redeemed by quirky performances
The main reason to search out this OOP video is for the presence of figure-model June Wilkinson, and regional character actor Bill Thurman. As most fans know, Wilkinson was a sometime model for Playboy and various "glamor" magazines in the 60s and 70s. With her 44" bust and exotic good looks, it is a shame that she was not featured in more movies. The Florida Connection gives her two scenes that show off her best physical assets in skimpy bikinis, and at least three scenes that show her dramatic intent. The most uncomfortable of these is an extended attack by a drunken henchman on Wilkinson, with her expression of revulsion rather than fear. Wilkinson has other scenes that hint of a latent acting talent, but this laid-back tale gives her precious few opportunities to show them. Wilkinson fans may be disappointed that she does not show up until 23 minutes into the movie that she "co-stars" in. Thurman gained limited cult status usually portraying sweaty, beefy, obnoxious support characters. Mostly known for appearing in Larry Buchanan features like Mars Needs Women and Curse of the Swamp Creature, Thurman appeared in other exploitation movies filmed in the South and Texas like S.F. Brownrigg's Keep My Grave Open and the rare John Agar effort, Night Fright. The Florida Connection features his quintessential role as a slovenly kidnapper and rookie drug smuggler. His first scene establishes his character; he is seen with unbuckled overalls huddled over a barely legal, naked teen in the corner of a messy horse stall. The movie itself is, at times, ponderous, with an atmosphere that spends more time establishing the breezy, palm tree ambiance of the Florida coast than a sense of impending danger. One would expect at least a little tension in a movie about drug smugglers. The limited action is handled well, as well as the detail given supplementary characters: racist sheriff, the alcoholic lackey, etc. Recommended to followers of regional film making (especially the state of Florida) and fans of the above actors.