Directed by Andrew Goth
Distributed by Lionsgate
Here it is, folks. Gallowwalkers. The movie Wesley Snipes was making as his legal troubles with the IRS began. How long has it been? Five years? Six years? Seven years? I lost track. We’ve been hearing about this film for ages, it would seem. Been so long Snipes got released from prison before the movie got released to the public. How many of you have been waiting and wondering if you would ever get to see this one at all?
Careful what you wish for.
Gallowwalkers should have stayed on whatever shelf it has been gathering dust on. The best thing that could have ever happened to Gallowwalkers, a Wild West version of Blade with Wesley Snipes hunting the undead, would have been for it to never be released. “I wish one day someone would finally release it so I can see it,” people would say for decades to come. Let it languish in unreleased obscurity so that its legend could grow much like that never-released Jerry Lewis movie where he plays a clown entertaining Jewish kids in Auschwitz. If nothing else, Wesley Snipes would have probably appreciated this going unseen because it has to be the worst film of his career.
Was this even the movie the filmmakers set out to make? It sure feels like an incomplete film that’s been padded with b-roll and spliced together in editing. I don’t know if the problems stem from Snipes’ legal woes forcing them to rewrite or recut the film, if the director just failed miserably in his attempt to infuse his supernatural spaghetti Western with some Jodorowsky-esque surrealism and minimalism, or if this is simply the product of supreme incompetence – possibly all of the above. The only thing I can say for certain is that the movie I watched is barely a movie and barely watchable.
Somewhere around the 25-minute mark, by which point I was already so bored, confused, and fed up I was ready to shut it off, someone demands that Snipes explain what in the hell is going on. I believe that character will be speaking on behalf of everyone watching this film. What is going on most of the time, including why characters are saying and doing most of what they do, is predominantly a mystery to the audience, and I don’t mean the sort of mystery you’re intrigued by and can’t wait to see unfold. I mean mystery in the sense that there’s barely any plot to begin with and basic elements simply explaining the set-up don’t even get revealed until well into the movie.
When a nun broke her covenant with God to save the life of Aman, her unborn son, he was cursed for life. As an adult, Aman has killed those who have crossed him. But his curse brings his victims back to life, and as the undead, they pursue him endlessly for revenge. Forever suffering this curse, Aman enlists Fabulos, a young gunman, to fight by his side against his undead victims.
That’s the plot synopsis put out there for the Gallowwalkers. Do you have any idea how long it takes the movie just to explain that much?
Who are those guys? Who are those other people? Why did he kill them? Those people weren’t zombies; why did he kill them? What are they talking about? Why did he save that one guy? Who is that guy? What’s up with this Village of the Damned cult? Who is this woman they keep cutting to, and why is she so important to the bad guys? What exactly are the bad guys after, again? Why does that guy have tentacles on his head? What’s up with all the really bad wigs people are wearing? Hey, look, it’s Patrick Bergin. Never mind, he’s dead. Now what are they babbling about?
I’m willing to admit that it’s entirely possible I missed a few explanations along the way due to what an absolute grind it was getting through the whole thing. A boring, meandering mess that takes itself way too seriously despite being loaded with comic book characters and corny dialogue practically begging to take the film in a more pulpy direction. If I’ve endured a worse movie this year, I can’t think of it off the top of my head.
Okay, let’s try and talk about the positives. I read the budget was about $17 million. That would explain why the cinematography is nice and the make-up effects look pretty good. I’m afraid that’s the end of the positives.
I would say there’s some decent action, but I can’t even count that as a positive since it’s so few and far between, If there was one thing I didn’t expect going into a movie about Wesley Snipes battling skin-stealing zombies in the Wild West, it was how little action there is.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Gallowwalkers, then not only have you seen pretty much all the best parts, you’ve actually seen a more lucid version of the movie than the film itself.
1 out of 5
1 out of 5