Native American, Navajo Joe – played by a tache-less Burt Reynolds – is hot on the trail of the crew responsible for the decimation of his village. After stealing back a train carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars from the very same crew, he puts the people of the town it was bound for in grave jeopardy. But then Navajo Joe offers to protect them. His price: A dollar a head… No.41 of 88 Films’ Italian Collection.
Much akin to the grim nature of our hero’s mission, Navajo Joe has a darker, serious tone in comparison to its fast-paced, vibrant cousin, The Mercenary. It’s one man against the world, and so his character’s journey requires patience and cunning. If there was a bloody gunfight every 5 minutes even Joe would have a problem!
Besides, your time is better spent on Morricone’s outstanding compositions. So powerful that when all is said and done, no one can really blame Tarantino. But they can certainly kick the shit out of themselves for not thinking of it first.
You don’t have to look far to find that it is no secret that Burt Reynolds hated making this movie. And frankly it shows in his work ethic. There’s no accent and in more than one scene he hurls a deadly blade like he’s passing a baseball back to the pitcher after the other team has hit a home-run. A former stuntman would know better. Luckily his character is seeking vengeance, so as long as he’s sitting on a horse looking pissed off, he’s got the part nailed down!
Duncan, played by Aldo Sambrell, is a fittingly nasty villain. He runs with the pack, but he has the fiercest bite. These people scalp human beings for a living, and this brute will gun down anyone for any reason. He’s had plenty of practice, starring in all three parts of the Eastwood-Leone trilogy. And he certainly makes for a worthy, if a little sneaky, adversary, especially in the final showdown.
Undoubtedly the best thing about Navajo Joe is its truly epic soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. It’s just too good to be contained by only one movie! And to those of you looking to make a theme song with the name of a movie character that isn’t a total and utter cringe-fest, this is how it’s fucking done.
As with The Mercenary, 88 Films’ previous Spaghetti Western release, Eric Saldivar shares with us his broad wisdom on Sergio Corbucci’s violent tale of revenge. Be warned, however. There is a Reynolds centrefold circa 1972 visual gag involving a flesh-coloured body suit that is rather a hit or miss situation. Press Play at your own peril…