Gallowwalkers Movie Review
Written by Hamzah Sarwar
DVD released by Signature Entertainment
Directed by Andrew Goth
Written by Andrew Goth and Joanne Reay
2012, 90 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 5th May 2014
Wesley Snipes as Aman
Kevin Howarth as Kansa
Riley Smith as Fabulos
Tanit Phoenix as Angel
Simona Roman as Kisscut
Steven Elder as Apollo Jones
Gallowwalkers is famous for being lost in production limbo amidst the furor surrounding Wesley Snipes's three year jail stint for committing tax fraud. The film has been gathering dust for years but has now been picked up for international distribution. Gallowwalkers has crafted a mutated sub-genre for its own purpose; the closest logical categorization of this painfully bland offering is that it is a zombie western. Director Andrew Goth has created perhaps one of the most bizarre and convoluted stories in recent memory. It is overwhelmingly complex and so tied up in knots that it repeatedly stumbles over its lofty ambitions.
Set in the mountainous and spectacular Namibia; Wesley Snipes plays Aman, a mysteriously cursed gunslinger who carries a heavy burden. He is raised by an adoptive mother and grows strong affinity towards her daughter. When his charmed lover is raped, she carries the seed of the five perpetrators. Five years later she dies in childbirth. This moment (unveiled in a deeply confusing flashback) is essentially the driving force of the story and unfolds in a tale of Aman's distorted revenge mission to wreak vengeance on her perpetrators. Aman seeks help from a rodeo named Fabulos (Riley Smith) who accompanies him on his mission. Fabulos (yes Fabulos!) is an underwritten character that contributes very little to the bigger picture, he forms a figure that Aman is able to rely and strangely depend on in precarious moments. Alongside this, we are told of the curse on Aman. A curse inflicted upon him by his mother when she makes a covenant with God,pleading for his survival:whenever he kills a man, they return from the dead as damned soul intent on destroying him, a gallowwalker. A gallowwalker isn't a Romero style zombie; they are almost humanlike except with blazing orange eyes and an immortal dimension to their persona.
Snipe's adversaries are intent on extracting the secret of how Snipes is able to bring the dead back to life. The action scenes are passable for the gorehound out there. There is a huge overkill on the use of haphazard CGI but there are some impressive gun battles, beheadings and even a cameo from ex wrestler Diamond Dallas Page in a spiked iron helmet. The key reason for its failing has to be the fact it takes itself so seriously in that the tonality is incredibly blurred. On one hand it is a moody western revenge story, on the other a zombie gore-fest. To compound matters the obtuse narrative is given to us in a desperately cheesy voice over from Snipes and relies heavily on flashbacks. With so many plot inconsistencies and mishmash of razor thin characters, Gallowwalkers will ultimately fall into midnight movie territory.
For fans of Wesley Snipes, this will be a sad viewing experience. He plays Aman with a sternness and with an almost robotic execution. Likenesses can certainly be drawn to Blade; he is a cursed protector of the land and exterminator of evil upon earth. That being said, Gallowwalkers never reaches the heights of Snipes' previous works. The moments to savor are in the magnificent African landscapes and the occasionally plausible gun battles. The rest is sadly all too forgettable.