Thursday, June 15, 2017

One Of These Days I'll Watch A Good Movie

The Gallowwalkers isn't it. In my defense, it looked like a Western where Wesley Snipes was going to be pursued by members of the Spanish Inquisition, who were also cowboys. That sounds promising, right?

Snipes killed all the members of a gang that raped his wife while he was away on some errand. He was killed as he left the prison, and his mother, who had to give him up to join a convent for reasons I don't recall, appeared and asked the Devil to return him to life. Which he did, but also he brought back everyone Snipes killed as well. The lead bad guy is perplexed that his son didn't return with the rest of the gang, and is determined to find a doorway to Hell that exists in the desert, which Snipes is sort of defending. Snipes just wants to kill the guy and make it stick this time.

The movie doesn't seem like it knows what it wants to do. They throw in a young thief who is ostensibly there because Aman (Snipes) decided having some help would be a good plan. Really, the guy is there to serve as Exposition Bucket. Snipes us him as a convenient place to dump all that stuff so we can learn it. There's a lady of the evening set to go to jail alongside the thief, who doesn't get rescued, and spends the remainder of the movie dragged from one bad situation to another. When she first appears, one of the deputies tries putting a move on her, and she surreptitiously removes a knife from his boot to use to warn him off. Sadly, she doesn't show that kind of quick thinking at any other point in the movie. It's only in there so she can make a quip about preferring her men heartless (while jabbing his chest with the knife), so the thief boy can make a quip at the end about being heartless himself.

And the movie lifts liberally from other, much better Westerns. They used the "You brought two too many" line from Once Upon a Time in the West. They mostly lifted the end gun fight from For a Few Dollars More, right down to thief boy making the save appearing suddenly with a rifle in hand, walking over to Aman, undoing his own gun belt, and handing to him. Be less obvious in stealing, please.

There are a few memorable settings, and some vivid costuming choices, very colorful. Snipes adopts this peculiar stride at times during the film, really trying for something stylized. But there isn't enough else there to hang that stuff on. I wasn't interested in most of the characters, or a lot of the mysteries. The way in which Aman saves the thief's life partway through the movie was clever, and it was probably intended to introduce a measure of uncertainty into the conclusion, whether he would help Aman or not. But it didn't feel like the kind of movie where there was really much chance he'd go against him.

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