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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kid Vengeance [a.k.a. Take Another Hard Ride] (1977)










Starring:
  • Lee Van Cleef
  • Jim Brown
  • Leif Garrett

IMDB.com
The story of vengeance here is pretty standard stuff, as a stubborn protagonist determines to get back at the scummy outlaws who raped / murdered his mom, murdered his dad, and made off with his sister. The twist here is that the protagonist is a young teen, Tom Thurston (Leif Garrett). Tom actually does a pretty good, and needless to say, very amusing job on his own, but ultimately he will team up with a gunslinger named Isaac (Jim Brown), a man with a highly coveted stash of gold, in order to save his sibling. Not only do they have to contend with the main outlaws, led by a truly devilish Lee Van Cleef, playing McClain (and sporting a bandanna instead of a hat), but a bumbling secondary group, including characters like Grover (Matt Clark) and Ned (Timothy Scott). Reasonably enjoyable but also forgettable, "Kid Vengeance" is just offbeat and surreal - and humorous - enough to give it entertainment value, in addition to the solid cast. Confusing at times, as if there might be a scene or two missing, and it also plods a little too much. An early production for Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, before they formed the Cannon Group that cranked out many great genre movies of the 1980's, it's not as exploitative as one might think, and in fact it has some good moments where the feisty sister, Lisa (Glynnis O'Connor) tries to stand up to McClain. Van Cleef clearly has fun with his part, and John Marley is likewise a total hoot as his accomplice Jesus. Brown plays a role of quiet strength and does it well, and Garrett isn't bad as the kid. Clark and Scott are funny in the comedy roles. However, the tone of this movie is mostly serious (the opening scene actually looks believable), with a rather dark ending, and Garrett's Tom, who's been taught the difference between hunting and killing by his dad, figures out which of the two he's doing by following and eliminating the villains. The movie is mainly worth watching to see the commanding performances by Van Cleef and Brown, who'd also done "Take a Hard Ride" and "The Condor" together. They give it an extra point, along with the typically fine music by Francesco De Masi. While not without interest, it's not likely to stick in the mind for long after it's over. Six out of 10.

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