DUKES OF HAZZARD: THE REUNION
When the Duke family gets together for the annual Hazzard reunion, they discover that a land development deal threatens not just their farm, but all of the County.
The enjoyment of this movie lies not in the action and stunts (almost all of it consisting of re-used footage from the series) but in the changes to the characters themselves over the past 13 years or so and their development as people.
Bo and Luke are pretty much the same (although Bo appears to be a little wiser and less prone to instinctively react) but Daisy and Enos have changed the most. Daisy is far more thoughtful and erudite (she has a degree in Ecology and is actively pursuing a career as botanist and environmental campaigner) while Enos (still as clumsy as ever in Daisy's presence) has developed professionalism in his working methods, which is quite surprising. Although Jesse is much the same, Cooter has left Hazzard and pursued a successful career in Politics (reflecting Ben Jones' life). His suit and tie and tidy gray hair come as a pleasant surprise, although after spending no more than a day in the County he quickly reverts to his old sartorial style. Cletus has physically aged well, but Rosco (without the benefit of Boss' presence; Sorrell Booke having died some years before) seems muted and rather lost without his old friend.
The Storyline woven around these character threads is somewhat disappointing (it basically all boils down to the General winning a two-car race), but scriptwriter Gy Waldron does his best with the material by adding several sub-plots (Daisy's kidnapping; the discovery of a rare plant) and particularly in resurrecting the Wedding storyline from the penultimate episode. In this instance, there seems no earthly reason why the couple should NOT tie the knot, with the result that the excuse given by Daisy for her change-of-heart at the films conclusion not only seems contrived, but rather weakens her as a character.
In terms of watchability, the film has many fine moments (my favourite being the sequences depicting the General's 're-birth') and moves along at a very smart pace (thanks to the direction of Lewis Teague, a veteran of many action movies). Even the enforced use (due to the limited budget) of re-used chase and stunt footage is effective, well chosen and very smartly edited together to almost make it seem fresh. The climactic race is brisk and exciting, while the earlier sequence culminating in the General's potentially crippling accident is tense and spectacular.
What the film succeeds in doing above all else is recapturing the happy, fast-moving spirit of the TV Series. The Dukes prevail; Hazzard is saved and all the characters end up as friends once again. Even the enemies are ultimately shown to be basically good people (they were hoodwinked as much as everyone else, it transpires) and the character of Mama Max (the nominal villain) undergoes a transformation after kidnapping Daisy and ends up becoming her surrogate Mother! Lasting enmity in Hazzard county is gratifyingly an impossibility.