"The Villain" is a fun little guilty pleasure, a Looney Toons cartoon disguised as a live-action Western and featuring some major names. The comedy is so slapstick and the dialogue so screwball, one cannot help but wonder what the heck Kirk Douglas is doing in a film like this! Perhaps he was cleansing himself of the debacle that was "The Fury".
That being said, all the actors in the film play it with the earnestness all good comedy needs to succeed. Hal Needham, in the middle hour of his directing heyday, acquits himself well without his usual lead actor Burt Reynolds. Needham plays up the material for all it is worth, achieving the same type of real world/cartoon symmetry "Roger Rabbit" is famed for. Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a hilarous splash against type as a noble cowboy whose name constitutes one of the best gags in the film. In fact, it is the three leads that make "The Villain" a worthwhile and easy watch, as their "for keeps" performances eliminate the self-mocking mail-in performances that doom many mediocre projects.
Therefore, either for the cult film enthusiast or casual viewer, this would be an easy recommendation for purchase or rental. HOWEVER, the DVD release of this film gets the glaring 1 (wish it was zero) rating for the increasingly emerging cardinal sin of DVD's - a pan & scan only release with minimal to no extras. According to reports, various consumer focus groups and studies have led studios to believe people are intimidated by the letterboxing black bars and want the safety, familiarity, and cropped comfort of full-screen. Why they wouldn't offer both (especially with no extras) is beyond me. Why they would think a film with a small, but dedicated following would accept this is equally beyond me. Sorry, Hal, Kirk, Ann, and Arnold, until Columbia ponies up a more worthy version of your film, "The Villain" won't be hiding out in my collection anytime soon.