Posts Tagged ‘Navajo Thunder’

We’re continuing Marco Di Gregorio month with this little gem of Rambo inspired mayhem!


Returning home after a long time away (some military mission?) young Navajo warrior Thunder (Mark Gregory) visits The Old One (his great-unkle or something) and learns about about of the breaking of the treaty between their tribe and the Americans. Their sacred burial ground (they insist on calling it a cemetery) on Crow’s Hill is being desecrated by the illegal construction of the highway. Thunder enraged picks a fight with the workers and naturally that pisses off quite a few people in the town.

Gathering some sense Thunder takes the high road and follows the attack up by trying the legal path of stooping construction. He busts the hundred and some years old treaty from it’s dodgy frame and insist an audience with the Sheriff. Sheriff, and old B-movie veteran Bo Svenson (Inglorious Basterds, Kill Bill, Heartbreak Ridge) wants nothing more than to make Thunder disappear and make his life easier.

Thunder continues his crusade by trying to talk to the president of the bank financing the operation but deputy arrests him and exports him out of the town. Also he threatens Thunder’s life if he ever comes back. Now, after policeman leaves rednecks spot him and start chasing him down while spiting out the most racist things they can think of.

Hilarious part is that the worst of the rednecks  is Antonio Sabato who’s obviously Italian as one can get. After being tortured and left for dead Thunder vows vengeance on all of the town. He returns just to be attacked by police momentarily (it seems police isn’t interested in anything BUT molesting local Native population. One policeman sounds especially gay with dialogue like “I didn’t give you permission to bend over- yet” and “you’ll be queer by the time I’m done with you”. But unexpectedly Thunder fights back and his one man mission against the police (and other various racists) starts.

After a crazy car chase random journalist Sherman appears and tries to get to the bottom of all the craziness. Chase continues by foot (and contains a hilarious  jump down the canyon) until they finally lose him.  He even finds a time to save the deputy who’s not an asshole like the rest of the force. 

Straight like an arrow!

Journalist seeks out The Old One (who sounds like alcoholic Yoda). Following the case he visits the burial ground with the old Indian. Unfortunately deputies are gather there to lay a trap for Thunder and the old one ends up burned to death!!! The scene is both incredibly tragic and hilarious at the same time.

Thunder Warrior (1983).mp4_002544844

Thunder surprises them during the night and hunt continues. All the dogs, horses and helicopters don’t really help the police when Thunder menages to get a hold of the full military arsenal. Nothing like a Native replacing bow and arrow with a bazooka.

Thunder Warrior (1983).mp4_004019219

And like shooting up the place wasn’t enough Thunder steals a construction bulldozer and starts wrecking everything including a Police Station!!! In the end he gets surrounded by the police and end seem near but a good guy deputy decides to help him (’cause his grandfather is Navajo) and smuggles him out of town. Thunder is now free, ready to fight another day! Cue in the Western music…

Thunder Warrior (1983).mp4_004480747

Verdict: Director De Angelis misses a chance to tackle a serious ( and still relevant) theme of treatment of the Native American population in USA and clings to the old Western tropes like his life depends on it. But truthfully what can you expect from the Italian directors who spent most of their lives copying American Westerns. What we’re left with is almost beat for beat copy of the Rambo (a big hit film only a year earlier) just cheesier and way more nonsensical than the original. Also the poor dubbing doesn’t help at all.

But hell, it obviously worked like a charm ’cause this movie was followed by a sequel Thunder II (1987) and even a Thunder III (1988).



In the 80s with the exploitation scene still booming in Italy, a special kind of hero was born. Androgynous heavy metal teenager with a love for bodybuilding was ripped straight from his shoe repair shop and thrown directly onto the silver screen. And ignoring all the detractors who called him gay and made fun of him he actually made quite a splash staring in a surprising string of exploration success- even spawning a number of sequels and all just in a span of several years. Looking at the numbers now, he made the incredible 10 films in a span from from ’82- ’89 including two series like Bronx Warriors 1 and 2 (rip offs of the The Warriors, Escape from New York and Mad Max) and (Navajo) Thunder 1-3 (Rambo). He even had a team-up with another B- movie action hero veteran- Frank Zagarino (Ten Zan: The Ultimate Mission)!

Then after the movie Afganistan – The last war bus disillusioned with a movie industry in just 25 years of age he decides to quit acting. And soon enough every trace of his existence on this earth is gone- just like that! The Bronx Warriors enthusiast Lance Manley spent years trying to locate him, even going as far as contacting his old director Enzo Castellari and visiting the gym he was hitting in the 80’s but to no avail.

There was a rumor earlier that Marco is now working as a marketing specialist in the Milan area but it has  since been debunked. New information suggests that he works as a decorator in Cesano near Rome but nothing is confirmed ’till we have a photo of him. One thing is for sure, in the internet era were we can track down anyone and even facilitate a comeback of lost B movie legends like Eric Freeman or Matt Hannon Marco Di Gregorio is still as elusive as ever, still a complete mystery.