GALLOWWALKERS ** UK / USA 2012 Dir: Andrew Goth. 90 mins
This peculiar African-shot hybrid of horror and western was in production as early as 2006 and, before being shelved for over half a decade, had its shoot interrupted by star Wesley Snipes’ tax evasion “issues”. It emerged at 2012 festival screenings as a messy curio, with a post-BLADE Snipes cast as a gunman cursed by the tendency for anyone who dies at his hand to return as a member of the living dead. Coherence is not its strongest suit, with the script incorporating skinless humans, albino villains, lizard-skin supporting characters, buxom wenches, random Sergio Leone homages (“You brought two too many…”), beheadings and face peelings. Snipes, saddled with an awful voiceover narration, phones in his performance as was his tendency from the misfired BLADE: TRINITY onward; recently, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME reminded everyone what a vibrant screen presence he can be. The alleged $17 million production (we’re guessing Snipes’ pay cheque was $16.9 million) is ponderous and self-serious, despite an abundance of exploding heads and the occasional dash of mordant wit: “Does the rest of him arrive monthly?” is the best line. Patrick Bergin, among an offbeat supporting cast, hams up his cameo role to the hilt while the standard revenge plotline gets lost amidst the odd tonal shifts. For Snipes, it appears to be an attempt to create a new, recurring comic-book-style franchise antihero, but it’s too muddled and heavy handed to leave anyone wanting more. Director Andrew Goth’s earlier COLD & DARK (your one chance to see-or, ideally, not see Matt Lucas and Luke Goss in the same film) was similarly clunky.
Review by Steven West