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 Chama' '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 many.....it just proves it can be done ???
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.
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.
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.
Joe Kidd is arrested for been drunken and disorderly. He is bailed by rich landowner Frank Harlan to be a guide to help him track down Mexican bandit and revolutionary Luis Chama. After Harlan threatens to kill innocent Mexicans Joe switches sides and takes on his former employer.
Many people rate this as one of if not the worst Western in Clint Eastwood's career. After my first viewing I couldn't help but agree with the majority of viewers however after my second viewing I really enjoyed it. That is not to say there isn't a fair few faults.
Clint Eastwood plays Joe Kidd a character who I felt had a name that gave the impressive of a younger gunfighter not a man who was Eastwood's age. He is a ex tracker who now owns a ranch and only decides to help out Harlan when his friend is tied to a post in barb wire by one of Chama's men. The stellar cast includes Robert Duvall as Frank Harlan the rich businessman who has a group of heavily armed henchmen who carry modernised automatic rifles. Don Stroud one of his right hand men carries the same gun Silence had in the Spaghetti Western The Great Silence. John Saxon plays Chama the not so heroic Mexican revolutionary, a man who is willing to let hos people die so he can survive.
The action scenes for the most part are well staged. We get a good opening where a former cellmate of Joe's attempts to kill him by charging into a saloon but he is coolly cut down by a shotgun in a bit for revenge after he was hit across the face with a pan. Other good scenes include the first time we get to see Harlan's henchmen take out a group of Chama's men with their modernised weapons. The climax starts off well with Joe driving a train into a saloon to take out the bad guys but it ends to quickly and Harlan's men just surrender.
Lalo Schifrin composes a great little score that is a personal favourite of mine.
Overall it is a entertaining film that could've been better especially with it been directed by western legend John Sturges.
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