I’ve been a Wesley Snipes fan for a long time, going all the way back to 1989 when he portrayed Willie Mays Hayes in MAJOR LEAGUE. Over the years, he’s played a wide variety of characters, both good and bad; I’ve loved many of these, including Nino Brown from NEW JACK CITY, Simon Phoenix from DEMOLITION MAN, and Blade from the titular film trilogy. Unfortunately, however, Snipes seems to have hit a very low point in his career, and his involvement with this recent film, GALLOWWALKERS, is a good example of that. I wanted very badly to like this film, but a messy plot and bad writing kept me from it.
If you are not familiar with GALLOWWALKERS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:
A mysterious gunman, Aman, is the son of a nun who breaks her covenant with God to ensure his survival. This act brings a curse upon Aman: all those that die by his gun will return. Soon, he is hunted by a gang of his undead former victims, led by the vicious Kansa. Aman enlists Fabulos, a new young warrior, to fight by his side.
I am still a Wesley Snipes fan, although I hope his career does not take a nosedive like Val Kilmer’s did several years ago. Snipes’ offscreen troubles with the IRS should not affect his Hollywood status, but his recent film roles seem to indicate otherwise. Hopefully, a role in THE EXPENDABLES 3 will give his career a much needed boost.
GALLOWWALKERS started off with a lot of promise. On the surface, the plot sounds interesting and could potentially make for an intensity-filled flick. Also, having an action veteran like Snipes onboard makes it an even greater pull. There’s even the possibility for some excellent carnage in a film like this, which would thrust it into the annals of horror greatness.
Yet, the execution of the film falls way flat, and the result is a lackluster movie that is nothing more than a jumbled mess. The storyline is convoluted and jumpy; I found myself rewinding several times to see if I had missed something. Nothing is explained outright (you have to make A LOT of assumptions and many of those, for me, were wrong) and the confusion took me out of the film very quickly.
The acting in GALLOWWALKERS isn’t bad, and the film has some decent gore, although there should have been much more. I particularly like the use of, as my buddy, fellow-reviewer Hayes Hudson, put it, “Mortal Kombat-like” decapitations; these occur when Snipes yanks someone’s head off and rips their spine out with it. Likewise, the film itself is shot well and looks pretty good overall. But those are the only positives I can mention.
GALLOWWALKERS is a big disappointment for me and I can’t recommend giving this one a look, unless your fandom for Wesley Snipes can overlook the negatives I’ve mentioned above. The film hits store shelves next week, if you want to take a chance on it.