C. Thomas Howell, underaged star and erstwhile cohort of young Patrick Swayze in such films as THE OUTSIDERS and RED DAWN, borrows Clint Eastwood's longcoat and attitude for KID, a by-the-numbers revengefest that came to home video in 1991.
The filmmakers strive for mythic power in a hokey opening shot of The Kid (Howell), a nameless, tight-lipped youth, entering a tiny Arizona town in a swirl of dust and synthesizer music. Years before, when he was just a moppet, The Kid watched a quintet of local yahoos (complete with an
America-Love-It-Or-Leave-It bumper sticker on their truck) murder his hippie parents. The little orphan was clever enough even then to blast one of the ruffians with a shotgun; now grown to manhood, The Kid has returned to finish the rest. Complications arise because one of the hippie-bashers is
now nasty Sheriff Clanton (R. Lee Ermey), who takes turns with his bully son Pete (Damon Martin) at terrorizing helpless citizens. The Kid makes enemies of them immediately, but finds an ally when he rescues pretty Kate Garvey (Sarah Trigger) from Pete. Her father's out of town, so The Kid stays
at her house while carrying out his plan of vengeance.
When the quiet avenger cunningly eliminates his first few victims, his boyish persona acquires a real sense of danger, and a psycho quality that threatens to make KID interesting after all. The plot thickens when gentle Kate's beloved father (Dale Dye) returns. The Kid recognizes him as one of
the gang he's marked for death. But there's no room for moral ambiguities in this shallow script. Dear old dad turns out to be a black-hearted monster, and with his crimes revealed his offspring desert him, and The Kid sees no need to kill the broken man. Our hero's righteousness is further
boosted when he lethally booby-traps Sheriff Clanton's rifle but refrains from harming Pete. The Kid's even kind to stray dogs.
The terse, lone-wolf fighting man-of-few-words never seems to go out of fashion with B-moviemakers, probably because his lines are so easy to write. But it leaves the actors with nothing, literally, to work with, and C. Thomas Howell doesn't distinguish himself in KID. R. Lee Ermey, nominated for
an Oscar as the true-to-life drill sergeant in FULL METAL JACKET (1987), makes a flinty, one-dimensional villain. The alarmingly androgynous Brian Austin Green plays Kate's insufferable little brother, a heavy-metal rock'n'roll teen who, meeting The Kid for the first time, sagely comments "You
look like you just got banged by the dick of doom!" And worse: pointless profanity peppers the dialogue. This last makes one wonder just what type of audience KID was aimed at, with its combination of nastiness and bubblegum youth appeal. (Violence, substance abuse, excessive profanity, adultsituations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: C. Thomas Howell, underaged star and erstwhile cohort of young Patrick Swayze in such films as THE OUTSIDERS and RED DAWN, borrows Clint Eastwood's longcoat and attitude for KID, a by-the-numbers revengefest that came to home video in 1991. The filmmaker… (more)