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JOE KIDD (1972)

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

I haven’t seen JOE KIDD since I was a kid and remembered barely anything about it except a scene that took place in a bell tower. It was time to revisit this Eastwood Western, especially since it was helmed by John Sturges.

This isn’t a bad movie but it’s hard to figure out exactly why KIDD isn’t a better film. Is it possible that Elmore Leonard wrote a lackluster script? Was John Sturges, nearing the end of his career, tired and phoned it in? Or did all the right pieces and players conspire to create something mediocre? After a terrific opening that has much promise, JOE KIDD settles into a routine, paint-by-numbers entry in the genre. It absolutely nothing that surprises. Clint’s chiseled persona nearly feels like a comment on itself, before that was even possible. It’s so basic, so programmed that an Eastwood robot could have done it. Robert Duvall would have made a more interesting protagonist in this than a villain. He would have brought an unpredictability to Kidd, which is what the movie desperately needs as its story unfolds in the most predictable way. And the great actor really doesn’t have much to do as the bad guy, under-used until a pretty cool finish.

I don’t dislike JOE KIDD but I find nothing special about it. It’s a cookie cutter Western, one that I needed to see a second time but won’t waste my time watching again.

Watched on Netflix