The Cherokee Kid (1996) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

The Cherokee Kid can’t decided if it’s a comedy, satire, or straight-up revenge picture. Sinbad, the comedian popular for a short spell in the 1990s headlines this western that features a predominately african-american cast. He plays the title role of The Cherokee Kid, known as Isiah Turner before he earned the outlaw’s moniker ‘kid’. Featuring a large cast of well-known actors and scripted by writers Tim Kazurinsky & Denise DeClue, the movie never engages the viewer resulting in a seemingly endless 89 minutes running time.

In the film’s first scene we see Kid and a fellow gunslinger named The Undertaker in a standoff, The Kid is shot and killed in the process. The story is then told through flashbacks as speakers at his funeral recount the troubled life of Isiah Turner. We learn that Turner’s family was slaughtered by a land grabbing railroad tycoon (James Coburn). On the run and out for revenge the young boy seeks refuge with a notorious ornery mountain man, Otter Bob (Burt Reynolds). Until, Bob is murdered by the men seeking Isaiah. This leads to his meeting with another outlaw in Nat Love (Ernie Hudson), the two pair up and soon Turner is invited to ride with Love’s posse.

There he learns to ride and shoot and earns the name The Cherokee Kid. He gains fame and notoriety from robbing banks owned by the railroad Tycoon. Forced to handle this thieving outlaw, the Tycoon calls in the services of the Undertaker (Gregory Hines) to kill The Cherokee Kid.

The Cherokee Kid was not theatrically released, it premiered on HBO television as part of their (typically splendid) original movie programming. So, perhaps judging the movie by big-screen standards isn’t appropriate measure, but the weak product barely makes for a watchable TV Movie of the week

Director: Paris Barclay
Stars: Sinbad, James Coburn, Burt Reynolds

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