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I happened onto this silly live-action cartoon and hung around because of the familiar faces -- Arnold, Kirk and Ann Magaret? I continued watching incredulously as Kirk Douglas did slapstick. Does anybody know if this movie has dialog? I couldn't understand a WORD Arnold said and Ann Margaret's voice seemed muffled by her impossibly big hair. Kirk Douglas spoke but one word(or so it seemed) throughout the entire movie, "Whisky," which was either a request for a drink or the name of his horse. Paul Lynde had the best dialog and best offensive Native American/Italian accent. Truly a BAD movie but entertaining in a strange, strange way.
Kirk Douglas was never funny, Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't be funny even unwillingly, still Kirk Douglas'horse, Whisky, is a bit funny. Monument Valley is stunning and so is Ann-Margret, and I'd give the film 2 just for the sake of that, but the total is so embarrassing to watch that it just won't do. This is one of the least funny comedies with a quite big budget ever made. It's an expensive mistake. I tried for some time but ended up winding through just to watch a bit more of Ann-Margret. When screenwriters,directors and actors who are not funny and amusing try to be, it never is funny or amusing. It's just annoying. I'd rather watch Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movies for the rest of my time on this earth than to see this movie all the way through. It really is painful to see good money and talent wasted on something like this, and it would have been better just to help some poor people or perhaps cancel the whole project in the beginning, make real western with a good plot, with the same crew, and Schwarzenegger as the bad guy. That might just have been a success.
THE GOOD : Ann Marget looks sexy . Arnold Schwarzenegger fits
surprisingly well the role of Handsome Stranger . Kirk Douglas is
obviously having fun with his role of Cactus Jack . The acting is the
strongest part of the movie. I did laugh two or three times at some
less lame jokes .
THE BAD : The whole movie feels like a cartoon that was turned into a movie. I like cartoons. Still , I don't like movies that want to look and feel like a cartoon. Why ? The answer is simple what works in cartoon doesn't work in a movie . The jokes that are funny in the cartoon won't be funny in normal movie simply because they will look stupid . Not to mention that some of the jokes here are taken straight from the cartoons . Take a look at the tunnel joke I swear it was a rip off from one of the Road Runner cartoons.
THE VERDICT : If you can avoid it. Better watch normal cartoon. I give it 1/10.
This is just the kind of movie whose existence (both in terms of the
premise and the people involved) make even knowledgeable film buffs do
a double-take I know I did when I chanced upon it first in a VHS
catalogue in the mid-1980s! For this reason a live-action version of
a Road Runner/Looney Tunes cartoon with Kirk Douglas(!) evoking the
hapless but dogged figure of Wile E. Coyote I'd always been curious
even if I had the good sense to not to expect much of the
That said, while certain gags don't really translate or else fall miserably flat (not only because they're already familiar from countless cartoons but the fact that animation has a much more 'believable flexibility' as it were), parts of it are definitely amusing (with Douglas, one of Hollywood's most durable leading men, willing to spoof his own image by undergoing a series of pratfalls throughout). Having the typical desert setting, the makers opted to make this a Western; therefore, it can also be read as yet another (broad) genre lampoon. Of course, it's not a patch on Mel Brooks' classic BLAZING SADDLES (1974); incidentally, here we also get a handful of wisecracking Indians (led by Paul Lynde, from the "Beach Party" series, in his last film) a' la Texas ACROSS THE RIVER (1966) which, as it happens, I've also just watched.
The thin plot involves Douglas being paid by unscrupulous banker Jack Elam (after the former's disastrous attempt to blow up the latter's safe!) to thwart heroine Ann-Margret's journey (who's just withdrawn a large sum of money) back home. She's something of a nymphomaniac herself and is being escorted by the foolishly-named Handsome Stranger (played with all the woodenness he can muster by, of all people, Arnold Schwarzenegger!) but who seems totally impervious to her charms; by the way, she is called Charmin' and dad Strother Martin goes by the unlikely moniker of Parody! Douglas conceives many a cartoonish ruse in the accomplishment of his mission: every single one of these backfires, however (sometimes with the help of his "treacherous" steed itself) with the intended victims being completely oblivious of the whole thing; the latter's scenes together are fairly dull but, thankfully, the lion's share of the running-time is devoted to Douglas' ill-timed antics!
In fact, the two parties only come face to face twice during the course of the film: first, when Douglas disguises himself as a preacher (his hammy turn here seems to be tapping a typical larger-than-life performance by Jack Palance!) and, then, at the climax where, having finally had enough of Schwarzenegger's cluelessness, Ann-Margret decides to side with the villain (actually the film's original American title). This unforeseen turn-of-events sends Douglas leaping over rooftops in an impromptu fit of uncontainable ecstasy, as often seen in Tex Avery cartoons and which easily gets the film's biggest laugh though other undeniable chuckles have him slipping high in the air on an empty beer bottle, squashed at the front of a speeding train and knocked about when the platform he's standing on falls apart in the aforementioned preacher sequence! I told you it plays like a cartoon
P.S. Incidentally, as part of my Christmas schedule, I should also be re-acquainting myself with two of the same director's other 'chase' comedies the "Cannonball Run" films, both of which I haven't watched since the mid-1980s
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Villain (known in some countries as Cactus Jack) is a disappointing
and tiresome comedy western which is chiefly remembered for giving an
early role to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actual star is Kirk Douglas,
and boy is he a long way from the halcyon days of Spartacus! Also
thrown into the mix is the gorgeous Ann-Margret, in a role that calls
for no acting talent whatsoever but gives her lots of opportunities to
flash her ample cleavage. The film is a thinly-plotted, live-action
variation on the old slapstick cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Speedy
Gonzalez and (most noticeably) Road Runner. It has occasional amusing
sight gags and a great deal of physical humiliation, but with its
running time in excess of 90 minutes it wears out its welcome and
becomes a somewhat laboured affair.
Incompetent outlaw Cactus Jack (Kirk Douglas) is jailed after yet another of his disastrous robbery attempts. However, he is given the chance to earn his freedom if he can intercept a sizable cash shipment being sent by greedy ranch owner Parody Jones (Strother Martin) to the bank. Jack's quest requires him to seize the money from Parody's buxom daughter Charming (Ann-Margret), who is carrying the cash on her father's behalf and is being escorted across the hazardous wilds by a muscular protector named Handsome Stranger (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Jack tries every dirty trick in the book to steal the cash, but every plan he hatches goes spectacularly wrong - usually resulting in injury and/or humiliation for our hapless bandit. Meanwhile, Charming tries without success to seduce her hunky bodyguard, before finally realising that the real man of her dreams might just be a man-of-action character like Jack!
The idea in itself is decent enough. We've all laughed at the old cartoons, so it probably seemed only logical to try a live-action variant of those very same ideas. However, the film is a massive let-down. The thing that makes the cartoons work is that they are short (usually ten minutes or less), so the pacing has to be lightning fast and the gags sustain a level of hilarity as a result. This elongated version runs out of laughs after quarter of an hour, because - let's face it - nobody likes to hear the same joke over and over and over. The physical calamities are quite well filmed, with Douglas providing a humorous range of postures and expressions while the stunt team perform some of his more dangerous pratfalls. But the whole thing is pitifully shallow and, at times, just plain immature. While certainly one of the most curious films ever made, The Villain is not one destined to be remembered fondly in the decades to come.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The worst thing in this entire movie is how bad of an actor Arnold was.
First movie I ever saw him in was Predator, and that role he did well
enough that 6 or 8 year old me liked it.
Maybe if I saw this movie when I was 2, back in 79, and my standards were not yet developed, maybe then I could give this movie more than a 1. But considering its movie with Kirk Douglas, who happens to be excellent grade A actor (watch "There was a crooked man" to see him shine), I feel its criminal how much his talents were underused in this film.
Only possibly reason I can see for this movie even being made is that Arnold polished somebody's pole really well and they gave him this as reward. There is no way any sane person would have hired him as actor with that bad of English to star in same movie as Kirk Douglas if there was not more to it.
The Villain starts with some solid laughs, but only becomes an overdone
film that you just want to end!
My friend told me about this movie. We both have never seen it before and it had a good concept so we decided to watch it!
The first act is great! The laughs are solid, and, well it was fun. Then it was all downhill from there!
Bottom Line: If you want to watch this, than watch the first 30 minutes and watch the scenes where Douglas tries to stop Arnold and Ann-Margaret!
P.S. Arnold's outfit is one of the best things in the Movie!
THE VILLAIN is, for the most part, an unmitigated disaster. It is supposed
to be a comedy but aside from Paul Lynde's appearance, there are very few
Avery Simpson (Jack Elam) and Parody Jones (Strother Martin) are partners in a silver mine. Parody sends his voluptuous daughter Charming (Ann Margret) to get a loan from Simpson. But the avaricious Simpson doesn't want to part with his share of the stake. He hires bandit Cactus Jack Slater (Kirk Douglas) to steal the money. Charming is under the protection of the noble but dense Handsome Stranger (Arnold Schwarzenegger) but it is Jack's own ineptitude and bad luck which constantly foil his nefarious efforts.
As other reviewers have noted, Jack acts like Wile E. Coyote in setting his various traps for Charming and Handsome. But director Hal Needham conveys these Road Runner-type gags with such heavy handedness and predictability, that he drains them of any humorous potential. One can only wonder how Frank Tashlin, who successfully moved from animation direction to live-action direction while maintaining a cartoonish flair, would have handled this material.
Then there's the subplot in which Charming tries to seduce the oblivious Handsome. This segment is promising but screenwriter Robert G. Kane neglects subtlety, not to mention actual jokes. It is thus as frustrating experience for the viewer as it is for Charming.
Most of the cast is defeated by the material. Only Paul Lynde, as the utterly unconvincing Native American Chief Nervous Elk, emerges relatively unscathed. He delivers his lines with a vinegary sneer and an expression of prissy disdain. He provides most of the film's actual laughs.
If only the filmmakers were half as successful with the movie as Bill Justis and Mel Tillis are with the soundtrack. Justis's score perfectly conveys the atmosphere of a Western while providing a light touch to suit a comedy. Tillis is unbearable as a stuttering telegraph agent, but he beautifully sings three catchy songs- "Handsome Stranger," "Charmin'", and the title tune. One wonders why the soundtrack isn't currently available. It's the best thing in the movie.
There are no laughs here. When I saw it, the theater was stone silent. Arnold Schwarznegger hadn't learned how to act in front of a camera yet. Kirk Douglas who should have known better is just plain awful. This is one of the few times Ann-Margret is not worth looking at. Certainly, "The Villain" is one of the worst films ever!
A very bad, slow, unfunny "comedy" western, filled with Country & Western stars you've never heard of, and Laugh-In comics who have fallen on hard times, this movie is sort of a big-budget Hee-Haw: the Movie crossed with live-action out-takes from the floor of a Road Runner knock-off animation studio. (This was one of the only movies I remember walking out of, as it was just too painful to watch.)
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