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Movie Review: ‘Gallowwalkers’

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Gallowwalkers

Rating:
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A weird western (think of the comic book Jonah Hex, which incidentally was also made into the movie Jonah Hex) originally released straight to DVD in 2013, Gallowwalkers pays homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s while injecting elements of the zombie genre. Although a relatively weak entry into this a seldom explored movie genre—the horror western—Gallowwalkers should be of interest to fans of the weird western and to fans of the mighty Wesley Snipes, who is once again making movies.

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The movie centers on a cowboy named Aman (played by Snipes—get the name?), who takes revenge when a group of outlaws kills the woman that he loves. When he is killed in the melee, his mother (a nun) breaks her covenant with God to revive him. Sadly, Aman remains in an undead state. Moreover, he is forever cursed in that anyone he kills becomes a “zombie” that will torment him for an eternity.

The core story of the film has a gang of undead outlaws coming together to put an end of Aman. Knowing he is outnumbered, Aman recruits a young gunfighter by the name of Fabulos (Riley Smith) to fight by his side.

The principal draw for Gallowwalkers is of course Wesley Snipes, whose portrayal of Blade in the Blade movies, as well as a plethora of other action flicks, made him a formidable action star. And to his credit, Snipes looks amazing in his western gear and he turns in a solid performance as Aman. However, not even Snipes can carry the convoluted mess that is the plot of the film.

Most viewers will not be able to sit through this movie, which was written (along with Joanne Reay) and directed by Andrew Goth. Now, Goth does have quite a bit of fun paying homage—and perhaps even poking fun—at the western genre. However, Goth loses sight of his own movie, and few would dare try to explain many elements of the story, as there are simply too many loose strings and logical gaffes to count.

Every good western needs a good villain, and for Gallowwalkers that villain is Kansa (Kevin Howarth). And even though Howarth turns in a solid performance, his actions and back story provide few hints as to his intended goals. Another issue is the undead state of all the characters—do they all live in a strange environment or do they populate a “real world” in which they exist with living humans?

As much as it pains me, I cannot recommend Gallowwalkers. I admit being a big fan of Wesley Snipes and of Spaghetti Westerns, but for some reason very few films have ever been successful in the weird western genre. The one that comes to mind for me is Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter, as well as Eastwood’s Pale Rider. In that company, Gallowwalkers doesn’t even come close.

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