Cactus Jack (1979)

Meep Meep!

Kirk Douglas and Arnold Schwarzenegger did a movie together?! Yeah, I couldn’t believe it at first either. But that’s only the tip the iceberg of bizarreness with Cactus Jack. It’s also live-action Road Runner cartoon! So let’s sum this up: “One of the all-time Hollywood greats and the granddaddy of cheesy action movies team up for a live action road runner cartoon.” How did this movie bypass me for so long?!

Douglas wasn’t as a big a star as he once was by the 70’s so did he take this role due to lack of superior film offerings or was he not ashamed to show that he had a sense of humour about himself. It’s also worth noting the relationship he has with his horse in this movie is very reminiscent of another Kirk Douglas film, Lonely are the Brave. I’m also not sure if Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lines are intentionally or unintentionally funny. The scene in which he narrates a flashback about when he tried to stop a bunch of horses from injuring woman, children and old men while trying his hardest to emote cracks me up.

The main problem with Cactus Jack is that the jokes are very hit and miss. At 85 minutes it’s already a short movie but even then it could have trimmed down to meet the requirements of its high concept premise. The roadrunner inspired gags are undoubtedly the highlight. By far my favourite gag is the classic painting a tunnel onto the side of a rock. Of course, having this gag in a cartoon is funny itself, however, I find having it played out in live action is even funnier in the sense that I couldn’t believe they were doing a live-action rendition of this joke, having me pondering if that the carriage would really go through that painted tunnel. However is it just me or does the very last gag in the film makes no sense? Why is Kirk Douglas laying a trail of gunpowder into a shed full of dynamite when he’s using this shed as a hideout…oh never mind. On the whole, it’s a flawed film but it is Kirk Douglas and Arnold Schwarzenegger in a live action cartoon. Do I even need to say anymore? This is the type of film I could watch more than once purely based on its novelty value.