Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Director: Mike Marvin
Writer: Mike Marvin
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid, Matthew Barry, David Sherrill, Clint Howard
Are you a fan of the 1973 Clint Eastwood film High Plains Drifter? Have you ever watched it and thought, "How could this movie possibly be any more awesome?" Have you then answered that question by saying to yourself, "well, some fast cars might make a tad bit more awesome." If you have had this small conversation with yourself then The Wraith (1986) may just be the film for you. After you get some professional help for that talking-to-yourself problem, I highly suggest checking it out.
Mike Marvin's The Wraith perfectly combines the the spiritual revenge story of High Plains Drifter with the exciting street racing of Death Race 2000 (1975). This combination creates the perfect movie for those that can't sit still for the slow pace of High Plains Drifter but still want to see a story about a spirit coming back from the grave to take vengeance on those that killed him. I really hope that isn't giving too much away, but honestly every description of the movie I have read pretty much gives away the "avenging spirit" aspect of the movie.
The film stars Charlie Sheen (long before he went bat shit crazy) as Jake the avenging spirit in a performance that I am sure would make Clint Eastwood very proud. Now instead of riding into town on a horse like Clint Eastwood, Jake rides into town in a souped up, one of a kind sports car and wearing some kind of racing suit that makes him look like a bad Doctor Who villain. Now I will say that the car is pretty damn awesome. It is sleek, fast and just down right cool to look at on screen and honestly, that sure as hell beats riding into town on some old horse.
If you need more evidence of just how wonderful this film is, I have it for you. For starters this movie stars Clint Howard sporting a haircut that he obviously stole from Henry in David Lynch's Eraserhead (1976). Now you can really tell that you are watching a high quality film if it stars Clint Howard and his brother Ron is not directing. Randy Quaid (again, before he went bat shit crazy) also makes an appearance as Sheriff Loomis who is trying to make sense of all the street racing related killings going on in his town. Seriously, how could it get any better than this?
Now, I know it seems that I have not taken this review very seriously, but in all honesty the movie was actually pretty fun. It is a fairly well told story even if it does borrow heavily from High Plains Drifter, which is one of my favorite westerns. The acting is passable enough for the type of film that it is. It has some pretty exciting car chases and some pretty funny moments as well. There is also a pretty decent romance at the center of the story. It may not be high art but it is a pretty entertaining film.