HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
   
 
Newest Articles
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
   
 
  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 3190 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
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: