Cactus Jack (1979) (aka: The Villain) starring Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margret, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paul Lynde, Foster Brooks, Jack Elam, Strother Martin directed by Hal Needham Movie Review

Cactus Jack (1979)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Kirk Douglas in Cactus Jack (1979) (aka: The Villain)

Meep Meep

Charming Jones (Ann-Margret) is due a sizeable inheritance but she needs to travel to see her father in order to collect it so hires Handsome Stranger (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to insure her safe passage. But her father has other plans for the money and has no desire to relinquish it to his daughter so has hired the ruthless Cactus Jack (Kirk Douglas) to stop them from ever reaching him.

I remember seeing "Cactus Jack", also known as "The Villain", once during the 80s at around the time I was just getting in to movies and at that point in my young life thought it was hilarious. 30 years later and whilst having a burning desire to watch "Cactus Jack" again I knew that I wasn't going to enjoy it when the opportunity arose and I was right as seeing it again everything I thought would be bad was bad. Well come on a western starring a young Schwarzenegger directed by Hal Needham had the warning signs going crazy.

Ann-Margret in Cactus Jack (1979) (aka: The Villain)

Now in fairness "Cactus Jack" whilst a western it is not really a western, it is a live action version of "The Roadrunner" with Cactus Jack constantly coming a cropper from his own cunning plans to try and prevent Charming Jones from reaching her father. And in a strange sort of way when you just let go and embrace the absurdity of it all it is kind of funny but unfortunately often in a bad movie way with the failing humour being enjoyable for failing. It is also typical of Hal Needham's movies of the late 70s with it coming across as a series of set pieces involving stunt work.

As such there is absolutely no point in commenting on the acting in "Cactus Jack" because all the cast play their parts ridiculously over the top especially Douglas who is the embodiment of Wile E. Coyote as he falls foul of his own plans. In truth it is hard not to laugh when you see the large body of Schwarzenegger squeezed in to a terrible looking cowboy outfit. But as much as these performances are enjoyable it is because they are poor.

What this all boils down to is that "Cactus Jack" is in truth a misfiring movie but one which now is more entertaining for being bad than for being intentionally enjoyable. One thing I will say is that whilst this review is based on the English version of "Cactus Jack" I have also watched a version in I believe Spanish and it is even funnier.