Action Movie Fanatix Review: Gallowwalkers

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Live By The Gun.
Die By The Gun.
Come Back For More.

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Riley Smith, Kevin Howarth, Tanit Phoenix, Patrick Bergin, Simona Brhlikova, Diamond Dallas Page

Director: Andrew Goth

2013  |  92 Minutes  |  Rated R

“You never forget the man who kills you for the first time.” – Kansa

Wesley Snipes’ Gallowwalkers had a long, long journey to the screen.  The movie originally filmed in Namibia in 2006 and finally saw the light of day seven years later.  Good or bad, it’s good to see Wesley Snipes back in action.

Aman (Wesley Snipes) is a mysterious gunman with a curse.  Every person he kills will come back to life to join an army of the undead.

Wesley Snipes’ performance as Aman is something of a cross between Blade and some of the characters from the old spaghetti westerns.  He seems to have studied those old Clint Eastwood characters and taken the cadence of speech and many mannerisms from that style of movie.  It makes sense and is rather amusing seeing Snipes pull it off but the part as a whole is pretty dry.

Ever the wrestling fan, I love the inclusion of Diamond Dallas Page, even if it was only for a few minutes.

For a movie that was mostly pretty bland feeling, the enemies have some original ideas behind them.  They are “undead” but they are not zombies and they’re not vampires.  The Gallowwalkers are their own breed.  It seems their bodies can live forever but their skin withers away in a week’s time.  Because of this they are constantly looking for new flesh, not to eat as with most undead, but to give themselves new faces and skin.  Call me easy to impress but I liked this change of pace.  And with names like Slip Knot, Hool, Skullbucket (DDP), Mosca (presumably named after King Kong) and Kiss Cut what’s not to love?  Well, the skinless makeup for one thing.  There’s a reason they don’t walk around like that all the time.

Other than the poor makeup effects Gallowwalkers really does look good.  The special effects, gore, costumes and cinematography look nice.  The desert setting keeps it from ever feeling cheap or small in scale.

The problem with Gallowwalkers does fall on the director’s lap, though.  Despite looking pretty, the story just isn’t told very cohesively.  The only reason we really have any sense of what is going on is because of two extended monologues by Aman and Kansa.  There is also the rather confusing bit about how everybody Aman kills coming back to life… until he kills them again.  Unless I missed it there is never any explanation as to why this second killing works.  It might have something to do with him decapitating them but I never heard a clear explanation.

I’ve seen Gallowwalkers called a crappier version of Blade… in the West.  I get it.  It’s Wesley Snipes fighting the undead again but I’m not sure I completely agree with that comparison.  All three Blade movies are superior to Gallowwalkers in just about every way but at least Gallowwalkers tried to be something different… even if it never achieved anything too special.

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