It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
All I can tell you about Clint Eastwood in "Joe Kidd" is that he plays a ruthless gunman of few words. This isn't exactly a surprise; Eastwood almost always plays a ruthless gunman, etc. The funny thing about "Joe Kidd," though, is that we can't keep straight whose side he's on, or why.
Let's see. The movie opens with Eastwood in jail. He's sprung by a wealthy landowner who needs a hired killer. The landowner wants to go after Luis Chama (John Saxon), charismatic revolutionary leader of the Mexicans (who claim the land is really theirs). Eastwood won't go. But then Chama ties one of Eastwood's men to a fence with barbed wire. I think Eastwood said it was one of his men. But men of what? Does Eastwood own a ranch? Run an army? His occupation is never made clear. Must be something you need men for, anyway.
Why Chama tied the guy with the barbed wire is also not made very clear, but I have a theory. It was to keep Eastwood in the movie. See, Eastwood had already refused to join the posse and had gone back to jail. So unless Chama did something, the movie would have continued without Eastwood, and there is not a big market these days for John Saxon Westerns, especially when Saxon doesn't even play a cowboy.
Anyway, they go out on the manhunt. But then the landowner turns out to be so evil that barbed wire is a positive blessing compared to him. He decides to shoot five villagers every six hours until Chama surrenders. Meanwhile, he fires Eastwood (I'm not sure why) and locks him in the church with the villagers. Then there are some neat scenes where Eastwood bushwhacks a couple of the landowner's boys. And there are plenty of gunfights all the way through, of course.
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