Set in the late nineteenth century, this Australian production from New Zelander Cecil Holmes is a social commentary via Robin Hood mythology flick. Fred Ward, a rough but straight shooting character, is driven to steal by unfair economic conditions. Busted for stealing horses, he and his sidekick get fifteen years hard labor. Ingenious to the end, Ward and company escape and set off into the wild where they rob from rich and give to the poor. Known to the locals as Captain Thunderbolt, Ward is pursued by a childhood chum turned policeman. In the end, he escapes the clutches of the law, returning back to the wild, free to continue upsetting the power structure. Captain Thunderbolt contains the reductionist qualities that make social realism seem like an oxymoron, but other than this it's a solid, socially uplifting effort.
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