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- Gallowwalkers review by NP
Well, this is a load of impressive looking nonsense. Style over substance just about covers it. In this Western horror effort, Wesley Snipes plays Aman who leaves the girl he loves alone one day whilst selling animal skins. During that time, she is gang-raped by a motley crew who leave her with-child. When he discovers this, he is heart-broken about what happened during his absence. To make himself feel better, he leaves her again, this time for five years, only to return to find she died giving birth. This improbable story is told entirely in flashback by Aman and is incredible in its illogical and inept oddness. The reason such a revelation is condensed in such a fashion seems to be that the rest of the running time can then be left to consist of non-eventful scenes that are massively over-choreographed, and while they are visually impressive, there is no naturalness to them whatsoever. Neither to the cast of alleged characters, who aren’t introduced, aren’t explained, but to make them ‘interesting’, speak in gruff-voiced cliché throughout.
The idea of Snipes playing a loner out for revenge against a horde of zombies in the unforgiving heat of the desert is a very appealing one. The trailer, whilst very stylised, seemed to promise much. And yet ‘Gallowwalkers’ flounders, and what story there is is laborious and crippled by constant flashbacks, bad wigs, posturing and overtly dramatic line delivery. It’s a curiously lifeless exercise – there’s a handsome budget on display and some stunning cinematography, but there are no characters to relate to, no emotion and no trace of tension or scares or … anything, really. In fact, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the best of the film. My one personal highlight was noticing, quite unexpectedly, 70’s children’s television entertainer Derek Griffiths briefly as a heavily made-up peripheral character Mosca.
Snipes had several problems throughout, due to tax problems and subsequent arrest. Perhaps the delays this caused threw the production schedule into disarray and accounts for the choppy tone of events (and for the many close-ups of Mr Snipes – many long-shots seem to feature a body double). But as to the po-faced dullness, the lack of anything for the audience to invest in, the non-existent story, incompetent lip-syncing, the absence of thrills … who can possibly say? Perhaps the fact that the film was released (straight to DVD) eight years after production commenced tells its own story, which is more than ‘Gallowwalkers’ does. A gruelling experience.
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