As usual, Amazon has mixed the reviews of a dozen different formats all into one bag which makes it difficult but not impossible. The issue I am reviewing here is in VHS Format, and is a 20th Century Fox Selections release (ISBN 0-7939-7149-7). The visual and sound quality was excellent. Being on the cheap side, I check this copy out from the library where I am sure it has been played and replayed many times and the tape has held up well.
As to the plot, it has been covered pretty well by other reviewers here. The one (for me) significant plot difference from many of the other John Wayne Westerns was the fact that the violence in this film was a bit more graphic and a bit more intense than in most I have seen. This is not a bad thing actually, it is simply different. Perhaps, since this was one of Wayne's later films, he was only responding to public demand. To slowly pick apart and dissect the artistic value of any Wayne western is an exercise best left for those who care about such things. To me that is much like examining each and ever bite of a good cheeseburger...hey, it you like it, who cares?
No, the plot, while good (although I have seen better) as far as I am concerned, was not what drew me to this film. The thing that attracted me most was of course John Wayne. Secondly we have Richard Boone, one of the most under rated actors in the history of Hollywood and of course the beautiful, talented and icon, Maurean O'Hara. This wonderful actress appeared in five pictures with Wayne and even though her role in this film was extremely limited, it was still worth watching. Besides those facts, I just simply enjoy watching old westerns and I enjoy watching John Wayne.
Even though Wayne is showing his age in this film, the part he plays is age appropriate and he is still able to pull his typical John Wayne one liners off perfectly and even did a pretty good job of the various stunts and fight scenes.
All in all the bad guys are really, really bad, John Wayne is John Wayne and this was a very nice 109 minutes of entertainment. I must say, like several other reviewers, that I was not at all happy with the ending of this particular movie and am not sure what Wayne, the Director, was thinking.
I have to give this one 5 stars simply because.
Don Blankenship The Ozarks
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Don Blankenship (TheAncientReader)
Retirement does not suit me and I now substitute teach in our local schools system. I spent twenty years in the military, twenty years in health care as a consultant and have taught in various colleges … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Big Jakeis not one of the Duke's classics, but a diverting attempt nonetheless. Everyone seems to think that Jacob McCandles is six-feet under ("I thought you was dead" is a running line throughout), so some bad men kidnap his grandson. They want a piece of the family fortune and will kill to get it. Patrick Wayne, the Duke's own son, plays one of Big Jake's kids, and together they start out after the boy's abductors. Richard Boone makes a worthy adversary to Jake's larger than life figure, and the final confrontation between the two contains some great gritted-teeth dialogue. Maureen O'Hara is barely in the feature, sharing the same fate as Bobby Vinton as the boy's father. He seems to be onscreen just to get shot.--Keith Simanton