Reviewed by Chris Badgley
Rating: 7 Beans
here I was, home from college for a short reprieve before returning for the Fall '98 semester. I was enjoying the comfortable atmosphere of my family, friends, and all things good. Then disaster struck...
"The Shadow" came on TV... you know, the one with Alec "I was in the 'Hunt for Red October'" Baldwin. I knew that I was going to be in for a sadistic treat. Yippee.
I should have known that this movie was going to qualify for (plug) Bad Movie Nights from the cast list. Peter Boyle ("Young Frankenstein", "Red Heat", "Yellobeard", "That Darn Cat") led the all-star conglomeration of actors as the Shadow's taxi driver/chauffeur, Moe Shrevnitz. Oh, I meant mediocre (not all-star) conglomeration. Farley Claymore, who was played by Tim Curry ("Muppet Treasure Island", "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York", "Loaded Weapon 1"), was a less than adequate supporting antagonist.
Okay. Here we go.
The Shadow was not always such an opponent of evil. He used to broker out evil like it was candy given from his pocket (sort of Postmanish, eh?). Anyway, this fellow was an opium drug lord. He was ruthless as he destroyed villages and killed his competitors.
One night he was kidnapped from his home. To make a long story short (cliché), he was trained to "cloud men's minds." No training was ever shown, one must take it for granted that it took place. By the way, this training was his chance at redemption, even though he professed to not want redemption... he did not wish to change. He was given no choice... So now the audience is to like this murderer as a good person and hero for being brainwashed into doing things against his will? The movie then hurdles forward 7 years.
The film puts the viewer in circa 1930's New York City. (There is no evidence of the Great Depression, by the way; everyone seems well to do.) The producers seemed intent in trying to capture the feeling of a dark city (like Gotham) but they did not quite succeed. This movie was a poor man's "Batman."
The Shadow was a horrible and weak hero. I mean, all he had to do was to stop the last descendant of Ghengis Kahn (Shiwan Kahn)from using an "implosion/explosion" device... that is, an atomic bomb. Oh, did I mention that Shiwan, played by John Lone ("Shang Hai yi jiu er ling", "Yit huet jui keung", "King Kong"), was delivered to NYC by way of his ancestor's great silver sarcophagus. I suppose that he did not care to pay for airfare. There was no need in this at all. Shiwan Kahn later donned traditional Western world clothing. Quite GQ. Oh, he also had the same power and training as the Shadow... a sort of telepathy.
The Shadow eventually wins the day and Kahn, after having a portion of his frontal lobe removed (which incapacitates his telepathic abilities), remains in a mental hospital. The Shadow then goes on with his (tele)pathetic existence. The only two things that I enjoyed out of the movie was when I realized that I did not pay to see it and when the Shadow had (Tim Curry) kill himself.
Please do not watch this film. It is not even funny (of the MST3K caliber). I have warned you. If I have persuaded anyone to not watch this film, it will have all been worth it... wait, no it would not have. I mean, I had to watch it, damn it! I think you all should have to (understood), as well. Yes, in that case, this movie does not deserve to be on this site. Recommend this classic movie to everyone. Yes, my precious. Tee Hee.
Other reviews for this movie:
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