Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Shadow Walkers

Welcome back Sporefans. Recently we've been on a trend of reviewing bad movies that aren't of the usual ilk, movies that are passable but not good. Today's review will change all that drastically. A movie has come across my field of vision that merits a review of the most acerbic caliber. This week's review is for the 2007 straight to DVD movie "The Shadow Walkers".

If the straight to DVD release didn't clue you in, let me tell you that this movie absolutely sucks. An IMDB reviewer posted this comment about the movie, and claims to have not been able to sit thought the opening sequence, but we here at Spored to Death Publishing are made of sterner stuff. It strikes me as unfair to post a review of a movie without watching it, partially because a reviewer should see the work in its entirety, and partially because I had to sit through the whole stinking mess so why should anyone else get off easy!

But in this case, the fellow at IMDB is correct, this is a terrible movie.

Our movie starts with a montage of people being killed by ugly zombie monster things, and some hardcore metal music. Stuff happens on screen, none of which is important. Eventually several characters wake up in some sort of underground "complex", which is full of space aged tubes... also known as pipes. Get ready for a movie shot completely in the underground heating and storage rooms of other studios. I can only imagine the other movies that are shot on sound stages virtually two stories about this set, as the characters run from garages to rooms filled with steam and pipes, to more garages, to a room full of useless machines to... well, you get the point.

Grrr.... see that? That's your career dying! Mwahahahahaaa!

To further move things along, most of the characters have no memory of who they are or why they're in this underground complex. The noted exception is the evil scientist who berates everyone else and reveals crucial information about them. Mr. Science reveals that the only way to the surface of the underground complex is to head to the bottom level and then exit through the emergency escape exit.

Let me repeat that: The only way out of the underground complex is to head to the bottom level and then go out the escape tunnel.

Now, I don't know who designed this underground military complex. I don't know if M.C. Escher was brought back from the dead to design military complexes, or if it was some kind of freaky guy with an upside down face. But what I do know is, when you head towards the surface, you typically want to go in a general, you know... UPWARDS direction. Silly me.

"I think we can get out through there. Lets head down."
"Stop trying to look up my dress!"

Unfortunately, the character's quest to defy the simplest of logic is severely hampered by zombies. Well, sort of zombies... Ummm...

This is an excellent opportunity for me to set forth some terminology, which is something I really like to do. It makes me feel all important and stuff. You may recall that I've already coined the phrase "fecal sequel" in my review of Starship Troopers 2. Well, here's another great concept I'm about to put into writing, so get your pens and pencils ready kiddies.

The following is "Spored to Death's rule of perpetually increasing awesomination". When a concept occurs, whether in a good movie or not, and is copied and improved upon by another movie, the concept will be cheapened and craptified on a inversely proportionate scale to its so called improvement.

OK, I know that's a bit wordy, so let me give you an example. "Jaws" was an awesome movie about a giant killer Great White shark. In its sequels, Jaws became bigger, meaner and eventually "psychic" monster (remember how Helen Brody claims that it was the shark's fault that her husband died of a heart attack?).

As time went on, people made faster, meaner and more intelligent sharks, like in the movie "Deep Blue Sea". The further and further the sharks get away from the original concept of Jaws (while still being copies), the lamer the movies become. If you keep adding things to make the killer shark "better" for each new movie, you would eventually wind up with some type of robot shark immune to bullets that shoots torpedoes and has laser beam eyes. Get the picture?

That being said, I have compiled all the data I could on the "creatures" in the movie "The Shadow Walkers" and have some up with the following; which is what I believe to be an accurate description of them. Keep in mind that the original concept that I believe that the creatures are based upon are the zombies from George Romero's original 1968 "Night of the Living Dead".

They dun stole my D.N.A.!!!

The creatures are: Horny genetically-altered alien-human mutated zombie super soldier vampires.

Here's a breakdown of that description. Scientists take alien DNA and inject it into humans, altering them. The mutants retain their intelligence but are reduced to their animistic instincts (these are not my words, that's straight from the movie. I realise that this makes no sense what-so-ever). They posses a heightened sex drive, but replicate by biting the non-infected, and with each new infection comes a new mutation. Also, they're allergic to Ultraviolet light.

As the plot progresses, "Reeve" (Jason Coviello), the security officer has several fights with these super soldier zombies. With a generic heavy metal soundtrack and fight choreography straight from the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Reeve engages the zombie soldiers in Mortal Kombat. Later on, "Julie" (Jennifer Summers) gets in on the action as she begins changing into a zombie super solider herself.

"So in this scene, we are going to play doctor! Let me just put on my rubber gloves! Oops, could you give me... "a hand"? Aha...ahahaha.....ahahahahahaaaa!!!

Laugh, its funny!"

To see why this movie came out so badly, lets take a look under the hood. To start with, the director is Mark Steven Grove, a man who's most prominent accomplishment was being a stunt man and weapons handler on the 1998 movie "3 Ninja's: High Noon at Mega Mountain". This is not an accomplishment you should proudly list on your resume. This is the type of job that you hide in shame and hope that people don't find out about.

People like me.

People who say things like, "Hey, being a stunt man on a crappy movie sequel trying to wring the last few bucks out of a dying second rate franchise does not qualify you to direct a movie." and "The fact that you were able to make this movie is proof to me that there is no such thing as a just and benevolent higher power." Its a pretty sad thing when the best thing you've ever worked on was a piece of crap, and you can only aspire to be partially as successful on your own project.

Behold the Drama!!!

Next we have the writer, the mysterious Dave Hodel. This is the only thing that Dave has ever written, at least, the only thing that's ever been published in any form. Let's dissect one of my favorite scenes from the movie and I'll show you what I mean.

Throughout "The Shadow Walkers" there is a nerdy looking guy watching monitors of various happenings in the complex. His job, apparently, is to monitor the goings on and to make sure that no one escapes the lock down. At the end of the movie, Reeve and Julie escape from the "bottom" of the underground complex, and the nerdy zombie-voyeur watches through he monitor. He tries to call "General Radler" (Alan Shackelford), but his assistant refuses to put the General on the line. Why?

Because the General is watching T.V., that's why. He's "Very busy and can't be bothered". So Nerd boy runs upstairs with a print out (why does he need a print out to say "They've escaped"?) knocks over some girl carrying a bunch of files, stops to help her and cop a quick feel before grabbing his printout and running to the General's office. At which point, the General's assistant stops nerd boy and tells him once again "The General is very busy and can't be bothered right now." After several attempts to flag the General's attention, he pauses his video of people playing paintball or whatever and says "What's all this about? Can't it wait? I'm very busy!"

Nerd boy explains that the complex has been breached and that the subjects have escaped, to which the General responds "What! Why didn't you tell me earlier!" and scurries out of the room to sick the super zombie soldier prototype after the heroes, which probably means that they were planning on a sequel. Somehow I doubt that's going to happen.

So what's wrong with this scene? Is it the fact that its all transparent and unbelievable? Are we to believe that a military official capable of running a top secret project is going to ignore the guy in charge of making sure nothing goes wrong for "no raisin"? Was this the best Hodel could come up with or did he just get lazy toward the end of his screenplay? Who knows? One thing's for certain though, The Shadow Walkers takes place underground and that's where it should stay: Buried.

Well, I can at least think of some better ways to pass the time:


Edward said...

Your theory also applies to anacoda movies with the best being anaconda which is not a good start. Nothing will top how John Voight was eaten.

Spored_to_Death said...

Hah! I can top John Voight being eaten in Anaconda with ease.

Nothing can top how John Voight was regurgitated by the snake so that it could eat J-Lo. I wonder if the snake thought he tasted as good on the way back up!

Marina said...

I've actually seen this one ....

Spored_to_Death said...

You've actually seen this movie? Oh my god. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

No one should be subjected to horny genetically-altered alien-human mutated zombie super soldier vampire movies. No one.