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4.1 out of 5 stars49
4.1 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 September 2014
All rabid fan of Clint Eastwood that I am, I still was very disappointed by this 1972 film. In fact I believe this is the less succesful movie in Eastwood's career, together with "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" and "A perfect world". Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Joe Kidd (Clint Eastwood), a kind of drifter and definitely a somehow shady character with mysterious past, witnesses by accident the attack of the courthouse in Sinola, New Mexico, by a local bandit (and part time revolutionary) Luis Chama (John Saxon). Chama is the champion of local Mexican farmers, victims of a land grab by wealthy white immigrants. The head of the latter is an unscrupulous, vicious man named Frank Harlan (Robert Duvall) - and he wishes to hire Joe Kidd as scout in his expedition against Chama. And then the movie begins...

This film had on paper all necessary assets to be very good. It is directed by John Sturges, the director who made such magnificent masterpieces as "The magnificent seven" and "The great escape". The author of the scenario was Elmore Leonard, who, even if I never liked his books, definitely knows one thing or two about writing...

Two excellent actors - Eastwood and Duvall - were hired to play respectively the hero and the villain. Ladies who appear in this film - Lynne Marta and especially Stella Garcia - are quite attractive. Some really tough looking guys with ugly mugs were also hired to play the nasty henchmen of the main villain.

The musical score was written by Lalo Schifrin ("Bullitt", "Dirty Harry"). Last but not least, as all happens somewhere around 1900, it was possible to introduce in this film a very special treat, the semi-automatic 7,63 mm Mauser 1896 handgun, a weapon so cool looking that even Han Solo used it in a galaxy far far away...

And yet, with all of that, this film never works. The scenario is poor, dialogs are lame (don't expect even one of famous Clint Eastwood's one liners), action scenes are pathetic, villains are just hapless gun fodder, attractive ladies are very little used (in every possible sense of this word), there are plot holes the size of Jupiter and last but not least the character of Luis Chama is so totally effed up that it actually becomes quickly ridiculous. Thanks God, this film is also short (88 minutes) - but for me it seemed that it would never end...

For the life of me I cannot understand how so many talented people could have messed up this film so badly, but still, they did it. I can also hardly believe that I give only two stars to a film with Clint Eastwood with it - but I simply have no choice. Those who ambition to see every single one of Clint Eastwood movies and are ready to suffer for it can give it a try - otherwise I recommend to avoid it.
22 comments|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
screen legend 'Clint Eastwood' plays a familiar role as a no-nonsense
lone gunman.
'Joe Kidd' is hired by land baron 'Frank Harlam' to track down 'Luis
'Luis Chama' fronts the claim on land for his people, all relevant
paperwork having been lost in a fire, 'Frank Harlam' owns much of the
land being claimed by 'Mexican' 'Chama' for his fellow countrymen.
'Joe' doesn't like the way 'Frank' conducts business as a consequence
of which he changes sides.
plenty of gun action follows.
not one of 'Clint's' best perhaps, however his screen presence is as
always - 'Dominant'
sadly, picture quality is not as good as it might have been, film studio's
know that films with screen heroes such as 'Clint' will be in demand
when released on this format, just feel more consideration in upgrading
should be normal practice...
when you see the picture quality on Blu-ray of even older films such as
'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Zulu' among just proves it can be
done ???
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on 6 March 2004
This 1972 picture is possibly the weakest of the 10 westerns that Clint made during his carrer. However this does not make Joe Kid a bad movie, it's just not as good as the Dollars triology, Josey Wales, High Plains drifter or Unforgiven, but on the other hand it's at the same level of Two Mules for Sister Sara, wich makes this dvd essential for Clint's western movies fans.
Directed by veteran director John Sturges (Gunfigth at OK Corral and the Great escape)Joe Kid his a competent action western presenting Clint in one of his variations of the Man with no Name caracther, and showcasing a climatic finale that envolves a train...
The dvd has no extras but the film is presented on the original widescreen aspect ratio and several subtitles.
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Maybe it wasn't a good idea to see this right after "High Plains Drifter," but by comparison, it seemed ordinary. The set-up is intriguing, and it makes Joe Kidd (Clint Eastwood) think about choosing to side with the rapacious, land-hungry Harlan (Robert Duvall), against the Mexican guerilla Luis Chama (John Saxon), who is trying to stop Harlan and similar commercial interests from appropriating land that belongs to Spanish-speaking indigenous people (we seem to be in southern New Mexico, c. 1900). However, Chama has mistreated one of Kidd's employees and stolen some of his horses, so Joe isn't feeling too warmly about him just at that point. Harlan wants to employ Kidd, an ex-bounty hunter who knows the country and the people -- to track down Chama and his gang, and Kidd agrees. However, when he realizes how bloodthirsty Harlan and his men are, and how they are willing to kill innocent people to force Chama's hand, he changes sides. Chama isn't quite the noble outlaw -- he could stand seeing others being martyred on his behalf -- but eventually he agrees to let Kidd take him into town so that he can make the case for his people's land ownership in court. Harlan and Co., of course, want Chama, and, by now, Kidd, out of the way before any legal proceedings can get under way, so they plan an ambush when Kidd brings Chama into town. Kidd is expecting something like this . . . . and this is where the movie gets ordinary. The battle that ensues when the ambush doesn't work is quite perfunctory, and the use of a steam locomotive to help get things wrapped up smacks of directorial desperation. I mean, a locomotive . . . Really?

Elmore Leonard wrote the screenplay, and it's fine, though not in any way unusual. The setting in the supposed New Mexico badlands looks good. John Sturges directed. He had better material in "The Magnificent Seven." Western Fans might see a similarity to "The Professionals," the Yul Brynner/Burt Lancaster movie that also has gunfighters changing sympathies. That one has more varied character interest, and it gives the Mexican -- Jack Palance in that case -- a more meaty part than John Saxon gets here.
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on 17 June 2013
Every review of this movie I have read has been negative. Personally I think it is a very good example of the genre. Blu Ray transfer is amazing considering the age of the movie. My advice is go out and buy this one
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on 21 September 2012
One of the less well known Westerns staring Clint Eastwood but well worth watching. Clint Eastwood stars as a bounty hunter, Joe Kidd, who is hired by a wealthy landowner, Frank Harlan (played by Robert Duvall), to track down a Mexican freedom fighter. But, in typical Clint Eastwood fashion, Joe Kidd has his own ideas about the outcome of the chase. This western, directed by John Sturges, is full of action and well worth watching.
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on 22 February 2014
I'll admit that while I'm sure I've watched this film before, I don't remember it and having watched it again I can see why I don't remember it. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad film, in fact its reasonably entertaining, but it's not a very memorable one and its far from Eastwood's best.

Clint effectively plays the role he does best, he's a calm and steady handed tracker (a slight variation from his usual bounty hunter), although it's a little at odds with the set up. He's supposed to be the town drunk, but apart from the opening cell with him waking up not remembering his last drunken excitement you wouldn't think that he's a drunk.

It doesn't matter too much once the film gets going as he slips into his usual role that we're all familiar with. The story concerns local land titles being usurped by big business and one of the locals takes the law into his own hands. Naturally the local tycoon responds in kind and hires Kidd to track the rebel down. Things then progress in a predictable manner and that's the film big problem, it does enough to keep you watching, but not enough to make it stand out in any way.
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VINE VOICEon 7 August 2014
This is another enjoyable Western for Clint Eastwood to star in under the director of John Sturges. A great cast flesh out some enjoyable characters; real nasty villains and corrupt anti-heroes. It doesn’t last long, clocking in at under 90 minutes, but the story is nice and simple with a cat-and-mouse hunt taking place before being turned on its head for a resounding and action packed finale.

Eastwood plays Joe Kidd perfectly, showing just as much respect to the ladies around him as tough justice to the villains he encounters, making him a likeable and humane character. Duvall and Saxon blur the lines between who is good and bad, but both give fine performances respectively and share great screen time with Eastwood.

Great action sequences, tense shoot-outs and nice cinematography make this a rather under-rated offering from Eastwood, but one that is very solid and entertaining. And the finale that involves a steam train driving through a saloon is wonderfully bombastic.
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You would expect a western directed by John Sturges, written by Elmore Leonard, starring Clint Eastwood and that most talented of American actors Robert Duvall, to be something well above the average. Sadly that is not the case, it is very routine fare indeed. Sturges was past his peak and Elmore Leonard was still developing as a writer before his rise to fame in the crime genre with "Get Shorty". Eastwood was still trying to find his feet with more realistic roles outside of the spaghetti western.

The films routine story concerns a group of particularly nasty characters lead by a wealthy landowner played by Duvall, who hire Eastwood as a guide to assist in tracking down a Mexican bandit who threatens Duvall's land monopoly. Pretty soon Eastwood realises he is batting for the wrong side and decides to change matters. This of course involves some gunplay and an entertaining finale involving a steam locomotive. John Saxon who seemed to appear in many Mexican roles played the bandit. Although Eastwood is not the semi mythical killing machine that he was in "The man with no name" films, he is still pretty deadly and the body count keeps rising.

Sadly there is no time for characterization. All of the characters are superficial. There was an opportunity to flesh out the bandit character much as Jack Palance did in "The Professionals," but this was lost. Eastwood strolls through proceedings and Duvall is wasted as the stereo type villain. The location filming is one of the few plus points. It is one of Eastwood's more forgotten westerns and there is good reason for that.
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on 25 May 2012
Ignore the amazon write up. This is a very enjoyable, if simple film. Better than 'Two Mules' and 'Hang em High'. I even preferred it to 'Fistful of Dollars'. Much more humour to it.
True, being directed by John Sturges and also starring Robert Duvall, there is an expectation to such a line up that sadly does fall a little short of what could have been. In that respect it is less than the sum of it's parts but take a lighter view, expect little and it is entertainment all the way.
If you like Clint (if not - why not?) then there is much tongue in cheek pleasure to be had here. I won't go into the plot etc, someone else can tell you that. But take it from me - a true Clint fan - it aint all bad.
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