Joshua (1976, directed by Larry Spangler)

One day, as the American Civil War is drawing to a close, a group of outlaws besiege a homesteader’s cabin.  While they allow the homestead to survive, they kill his maid, Martha (Kathyrn Jackson) and they kidnap his mail order bride (Brenda Venus).  The very next day, Martha’s son, Joshua (Fred Williamson), arrives home from serving in the Union Army.  As soon as Joshua find out what has happened, he grabs his late father’s rifle, jumps on his horse, and set off for revenge.  When the sheriff warns him that the gang is violent, bloodthirsty, and large, Joshua replies, “I just finished fighting a war, Sheriff.  I’ve killed twice that.”

Joshua finds Fred Williamson doing what he does best.  Dressed in all black and not showing a hint of emotion, Williamson dominates the screen as he rides across the countryside and finds creative ways to kill the members of the gang.  Along the way, he also meets and has a brief fling with Maria (Isela Vega), a female gunslinger.  Even though Joshua proves time and again that he can handle himself while fighting several men at once, he chooses to take the members of the gang out one-by-one.  He savors getting his revenge, as only Fred Williamson could.  (Also, if Joshua took out the entire gang at one time, it would be a really short movie.)

Williamson wrote the script for Joshua and produced it through his own production company.  That probably explains why no one else in the film really has a chance against Joshua.  There’s really nothing, from firing a gun to battling a rattlesnake to tracking a group of cold-blooded killers, that Joshua doesn’t do well.   Not a lot happens in Joshua but Williamson does a good job of playing the taciturn title character and he nails the scene where he tells a naive cowboy that killing is not something to take likely.  As always, Fred Williamson is the epitome of cool.  Unfortunately, the film drags whenever Williamson isn’t on screen and the members of the gang are pretty much indistinguishable from each other.  People looking for a serious or realistic western will be disappointed but if you just want to watch Fred Williamson be Fred Williamson for 90 minutes, Joshua fits the bill.

One response to “Joshua (1976, directed by Larry Spangler)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 8/31/20 — 9/6/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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