Smokey and the Bandit 2027 (a 50th anniversary reboot)

“In Smokey and the Bandit (1977), the overweight southern cop – so long an image of racialized abuse and white supremacy, and played brilliantly by Rod Steiger in In the Heat of the Night (1967) – became a comic figure who pursued white bandits, not black men or civil rights workers.”

Deborah Barker & Kathryn McKee, American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary

“Bandit” (charcoal pencil, 2018)

The Bandit: A Black woman accompanies the pregnant “Frog” across state lines to the East Coast’s only remaining abortion clinic.

Sheriff Buford Q. Justice: A conspiracy-addled lawman is held back by an indifferent bureaucracy, an adversarial public, and an accident-prone son with a propensity (whoopsie!) to murder innocent bystanders with military-grade weapons.

Snowman: The big bad. The human trafficking kingpin behind Big Infant Supply Corporation (“BISCO”).

It’s all high-speed rail for the first half of the movie. Bandit and Frog are riding incognito in the Meta-Amtrak VR-CAR™ trying to blend in with cross-country gamers.

(Backstory: The 2025 bankruptcy of the U.S. passenger rail system conveyed Amtrak’s rolling stock and rights-of-way to Meta, which upgrades all trains with immersive virtual reality headsets and life-size humanoid thermoplastic elaster companions. Then, the airline industry collapses after a worldwide fossil fuel embargo. Wars for rare earth metals make electric vehicles unaffordable. The interstate highway system falls apart. Commercial travel options are now limited to either Meta-Amtrak or virtual travel in the Metaverse.)

In the thrilling big-city conclusion, Bandit and Frog escape using light rail, underground metro, e-bikes, and scooters. Sheriff Buford Q. Justice cannot figure out how to work the sumbitch app.

Watch for the iconic self-driving car chase!

And don’t miss the hilarious blooper reel!

RIP Burt Reynolds