Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review 206: "Gallowwalkers"

"I blew you a kiss.
And you blew me away."

Back in the Saddle

      Gallowwalkers is a 2006 horror-western that sat on a shelf before being released in 2013. It marks Wesley Snipes's first film since 2010 and his first release after being released from prison. The film is directed by Andrew Goth (B.U.S.T.E.D.) and was written by him and Joanne Reay (Cold and Dark). The film follows Aman (Wesley Snipes), a gunslinger who cursed, causing everyone he doesn't kill with a shot to the head to come back to life. When he discover that people who killed his love, Kansa (Kevin Howarth) and, sigh, Kisscut (Simona Brhlikova), are alive and trying to resurrect Kansa's dead son, he teams up with young gunslinger, SIGH, Fabulos (Riley Smith) in order to rescue kidnapped Angel (Tanit Phoenix) and get revenge of Knsa once and for all. 

Oh, no! He's spilling ketchup!
On Hold

      In many ways it's almost not fair to make fun of Gallowwalkers because of all it's been through. Almost. The movie was filmed back in 2006 and had to be put on hold when Snipes was arrested for tax evasion. He was allowed to finish it, where it promptly sat on a shelves for 7 years. It was supposed to be released many times, but it final saw the light of day in August of this year direct-to-DVD to no fanfare, despite being Snipes first film in three years and his first film since being released from prison. And yet, it's still awful, even by direct-to-DVD standard. So awful, in fact, that it might be worth looking at in greater depth in a direct manner. Most of Gallowwalkers problems can be laid on the feet of director Goth. I try to be nice about things here on Cinema Won, but there's just no way around it. Goth is honestly just a terrible director. Like, Uwe Boll bad. He has no idea on how to make a movie interesting, visually and story-wise. It seems as if one of his favorite "techniques" is holding shots for an absurdly long time, ruining the movie's already abysmal pacing. A scene where bad guys ride in on a train-push-car-thingy goes on for about 2 full minutes. Which is about 1 minute and 50 seconds longer than it needed to be.

Copy Cat Got Your Tongue

      Goth mostly just copies other styles and techniques he's seen before but doesn't seem to know what to do with them. As a result, the most mistakes being stylistic with just being random. The movie tries to rely on visual storytelling, but the cast and crew just can't pull it off. Snipes barely talks and when he does, it shows why he's been doing direct-to-DVD movies. And almost everyone seems to be lost in the awful script that it makes me wonder if there even was a script. The film spends some much time showing off what Goth thinks he can do that it's mostly comprised of random ideas and scenes that seem cobbled together and go with little explanation. And what explanations we do get come in big, long exposition blocks lasting between three to six minutes on average. Three to six minutes of Snipes essentially telling us what we need to know. And it still doesn't make sense. The reasons why the characters do what they do and where the action is just pop up when they need to explain why the next poorly shot action scene is happening. The only good thing I can say about this movie is that for a film shot in 2006, it actually does look relatively new. I just wish it wasn't wasted on such awful direction.

Pictured: The best actor in the movie.
And Wesley Snipes.
The Verdict

      The fact that Gallowwalkers is bad even by direct-to-DVD standards should be the best "stay away" I could ever give. The movie is just one big show-off for director Goth, who is just plain awful. He has no understanding of pacing, action or storytelling. It literally feels like he accidentally dropped this movie in a shredder and tried to piece it back together. The movie makes almost no sense, filling scene after scene with bad acting and silly "artistic" shots. This film should have been left dead. Gallowwalkers gets 1 star out of 6. 

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