It marks Reynolds’ directorial debut, but in name only. Like Eastwood, Redford, and many of today’s studioless stars, he has managed, consciously or unconsciously, to develop his own persona through various forms of control — of projects, of directors, and of direction — previously uncredited. . . . Structurally, Gator is a bit of a mess, largely because of the civilizing and romantic influence Reynolds has brought to the randy domain of the redneck action film.
September 13, 1976