I consider Joshua to be an unofficial sequel to Williamson's Boss Nigger. Apart from having a different name, let alone a name at all, he dons the same clothes and hat to take on the persona of The Black Rider. This film is a film glorifying all that is holy and bad ass about the Hammer. You will watch Fred Williamson sneak through a desert in a very Italian cinema feel for an hour and a half and you will be entertained.
Joshua is coming home from servicing in the army and plans to see his mom; a slave owned by a loving and hospitable white family. Before he gets a chance to see her, a group of roughnecks kill his mother and kidnap his mail-order bride and begin raping her constantly throughout the film until she succumbs to a loony case of Stockholm Syndrome.
Due to the bleak nothingness that this films philosophy encompasses, much of the run time of this film will be slow and uneventful but will flourish in a wonderful climax that features a truly heart-breaking final line. This film makes me feel more for elderly colored folk than the entire film of The Color Purple would ever hope to achieve.
The most surprising element of Joshua is the rape element. Not graphic or raw, the rape is seriously implied in several scenes. His beautiful innocent bride will be gang-raped in the desert by non-hygenic cowboys and it is very depressing. Shocking to say the least, she eventually mutates into a simple plot device and is soon forgotten about.
Joshua is a vessel for Fred Williamson to further his cult status. It works to a degree. While not being a great film, Joshua gets by being entertaining and a wonderful blaxploitation spaghetti western. The only real solid problem I had with this film is the same theme playing consistently through the entire film. You won't not hear it. Joshua is his mother's son, and he is on a quest for revenge.