HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Aurora Encounter, The
Breaking In
Breaking In
Please Stand By
Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County, The
Deadpool 2
Smart Money
Lupin the Third vs. Detective Conan: The Movie
Gangsta
3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt
Magic Serpent, The
That's Not Me
There Goes the Bride
Billy the Kid versus Dracula
Liquid Sword
I, Tonya
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Bad Match
Güeros
Anchor and Hope
One, The
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Lucky
Still of the Night
Home Sweet Homicide
Mannaja - A Man Called Blade
Spitfire
Killers from Space
Castle of the Creeping Flesh
Ghost Stories
   
 
Newest Articles
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
   
 
  Villain, The Acme Comedy KitBuy this film here.
Year: 1979
Director: Hal Needham
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margret, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paul Lynde, Jack Elam, Strother Martin, Ruth Buzzi, Robert Tessier, Foster Brooks, Ray Bickel, Mel Tillis, Laura Lizer Sommers, Jan Eddy, Mel Todd, Jim Anderson
Genre: Western, Comedy
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Cactus Jack Slade (Kirk Douglas) is a bad man of the Old West, who is out to steal as much money as he possibly can. Or he would if he was any good at his chosen profession, illegal as it is he cannot seem to get simple things like jumping aboard a moving train right. Today he is in an Arizona smalltown, and plans to rob the bank there, so that night he strides up to the back door and knocks on it, telling the bank clerk he is the Sheriff. Once inside, he finds the clerk doesn't know the combination to the safe, so uses dynamite instead - which destroys the bank, but leaves the safe intact...

If Kirk Douglas was going to be a success at any type of comedy, then surely playing the live action version of Wile E. Coyote, with the slapstick violence to match, would be ideal for him? Apparently not, as The Villlain, retitled Cactus Jack outside of North America, was a flop and yet more proof that the star was having trouble picking the right movie for his talents in the late seventies and early eighties. Yet for those who did see this in the cinema, it holds, if not a special place in their hearts, then a nice memory of a defiantly silly film that managed to entertain.

Better to leave it in the past, perhaps, but once it gets its plot, slender as it is, underway there are a few decent laughs here. It's simply that they're rather too few and far between, and if director Hal Needham was hoping for another Burt Reynolds-sized hit, then he should have prepared himself for a letdown. The casting sounds right, with Ann-Margret as a daughter, called Charming Jones (eh?), of businessman Strother Martin, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as her meatheaded protector, and the likes of Jack Elam and Robert Tessier in support.

Alas, their talents are somewhat squandered when you see the material they are saddled with, and when Jack's trusty steed Whiskey runs away with the acting honours you know that they were in trouble. Schwarzenegger especially comes across as embarrassingly amateurish, ruining half-funny lines with his tone deaf delivery, and you can see why he was better the next decade in roles such as The Terminator where he didn't have to put over quite so many lines in a broadly humorous manner. Couple this to the fact that the cast are playing cartoon characters, and nothing quite settles the way it should.

Still, if you ever wanted to see Kirk Douglas play scenes with Paul Lynde, then this is the film for you. Once we have all that preparation for what is a very simple idea, that is that Cactus Jack is after the cash that Charming and her new friend Handsome Stranger (Schwarzenegger - didn't put much thought into the names, did they?) are transporting back to her father, then we can get to the meat of the entertainment. Which turns out to be Douglas falling off cliffs, getting crushed by boulders, being dragged behind the horses, and generally ending up in perilous situations thanks to his greed. Much of this could have done with snappier timing, but a few chuckles emerge, if only it wasn't so achingly familiar from a million Warner Bros. cartoons. Music by Bill Justis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2507 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (4)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
  Dan Malone
   

 

Last Updated: