Gallowwalkers

PLOT:

After a group of outlaws kills his lover, Aman (Wesley Snipes) goes after them and kills them. When he is killed himself, his mother, a nun, breaks her covenant with God to save his life, which in turn curses him for life. His curse brings his victims back to life, and as undead, they pursue him endlessly for revenge. Forever suffering this curse and still seeking revenge, before Aman enlists Fabulos (Riley Smith), a young gunman, to fight by his side against his undead victims.

REVIEW:

It is Sunday afternoon, so I guess that means I should find something totally random. At least that seems to be the pattern, as of late. This week’s gem is Gallowwalkers, a horror western that was made about the time its star, Wesley Snipes, was headed to prison. Hmm…could be interesting.

What is this about?

After his nun mother makes an unholy deal to guarantee his survival, Aman grows up to become a mysterious and invincible gunman. But the deal includes a curse: Everyone Aman kills will come back to life in this zombie Western.

What did I like?

Wild, wild, west. I’ve seen a ton of westerns. Most of them have been classic, but I have checked out a few modern ones, as well. One of the things that draws audiences into the west, at least that I’ve noticed, is the mystique surrounding that era. That is to say, the violent nature people had, the rugged way they lived off the land, etc. Forget haunted houses, prisons, etc. If you want to truly be frightened, head out west! Now, this film didn’t set out to be a straight up horror film, but I can see the elements there if it wanted to. In the meantime, with the few resources it has, you feel like you are transported to the old west and watching this story play out.

Storytime. Speaking of the story, many who have seen this film have taken umbrage with it. I’m on the other side of the fence, though. Think about it, a mother sacrifices her life to the devil so that her son, who just got revenge on this gang of lowlifes who raped his woman, can live. The catch is that if he comes back to life, so will everyone he ever kills. Typical deal with the devil type stuff, but it worked for me.

Whore. There are 2 or 3 women in here that are your typical western prostitutes. Here’s the thing, though, they don’t aspire to be anything else, but the whores they are. Why do I like this? Is it some male chauvinistic thing? Well, seeing their cups overflow, so to speak, yes! Seriously, though, the reason I like this is because it is not pandering to the feminists. Not every film needs a female interjected into the main plot just because. Case in point, Jonah HexMegan Fox’s character was one of the major reasons people didn’t care for that film….and she was a whore! The point I’m trying to make is, they were eye candy, and had a couple of moments to shine and it worked. Sometimes that all that is needed.

What didn’t I like?

Accidental comedy. Sometimes movies can start out as one thing and end up being totally different. Take for instance this film. The idea was for it to be a western horror film, but there are times when it comes off more as a comedy. I don’t mind a little comic relief here and there, as a matter of fact, I encourage it, but going for the laughs took away from the aura that this film should have had, and ultimately was a big distraction for me, and I’m sure other viewers.

Kick in the side. Sidekicks do a lot of good. Think about it, part of the Batman has been popular for so long is because of Robin and how the various iterations of him have evolved. The Flash, I’m going by the TV show for this example, is nothing without his team. How about Bones, Dr. Brennan and her team of “squints” are perhaps the best sidekicks a FBI agent can have, as Booth learns every week. With all these examples in mind, I have to wonder what Riley Smith’s character’s purpose was. I mean, Snipes could have easily done this solo.

Just for men. I wasn’t going to mention this, but it can’t be ignored. Why is it that Snipes’ beard has this outline of white in it? For that matter, how is it that his hair is perfectly groomed? The white reminds me of a chalk outline that was done on Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, or one of those shows that I watched as a little kid. They had a segment where they were painting and the beard reminded me of that. Before leaving the topic of Snipes’ look, it isn’t explained why he was bald and in war paint when he went on his killing spree. That was just random to me.

Imagine if Blade was in the old west fighting the daywalkers from Game of Thrones. That pretty much gives you an idea of what to expect from this film. The story and concept are great but it fails in its execution, partially because of budget constraints, rewrites, etc. I feel that this could have been a much better film, had it been given a chance by a major studio, but because it wasn’t, we have the equivalent of rookie director or someone out of their genre trying to give a washed up actor a chance (no offense to Snipes). I was expecting a diamond in the rough with this film, but instead it is just a ho-hum direct-to-DVD flick that could have been left in limbo, if you ask me. Do I recommend it? No, not really. I won’t fault you for being curious, but if you watch the trailer you get to see the best parts of this film, minus some of the violence.

3 out of 5 stars

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