The Villain

Long before Twins was touted as his first comedy, Arnold Schwarzenegger stumbled beefily through this mock Western, a slapstick cross-country chase so barren of laughs it took 13 years to appear on video. In The Villain, there is the occasional titter to be had at the spectacle of Arnold dressed in baby blue bell-bottom cowboy duds. But he’s on screen far less than Kirk Douglas, who’s desperately unfunny as a bandit trying to ambush Arnie and his treasure-toting charge, Ann-Margret, in a series of Road Runner gags staged complete with flattened limbs and boinnng sound effects. Stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham (Smokey and the Bandit) drags out every scene, deflating what could have been droll cameo turns by Paul Lynde as a nervous- wreck Indian chief and Ruth Buzzi as a frontier priss. Fast-forward scanning helps, but not enough. By the time Needham stoops to piping in the Warner Bros. cartoon theme on the soundtrack, you’ll have tooned out.

The Villain
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