The Shadow (1994)
Plot: Set in the 1930’s. Lamont Cranston (Alec Baldwin) is a reformed criminal who from a temple in Tibet is endowed with the power to control minds and be seen only as a shadow. Taking the name ‘the Shadow,’ he must protect New York City from a tyrannical descendent of Genghis Khan named Shiwan Khan (John Lone) who plans to blow up the city and holds the same powers as Cranston.
I was taken aback when the movie started and I saw a creepy looking Alec Baldwin with long hair. But he eventually gets a haircut and practically carries the entire film, turning it into a solid movie going experience. When he’s not on screen, the movie definitely drags. It’s got many flaws. The powers of the Shadow are explained poorly. In fact, most of this is directed pretty badly. There’s so much weird shit going on that just doesn’t get explained. Random faces are coming out of the fireplace, the billboards transform, people are getting shipped in coffins, a carpet talks at one point, what the hell is this? It’s a silly premise, but it’s also a lot of fun. The villain has a good energy. The romantic lead, Margo (Penelope Ann Miller), is very likable and has great chemistry with Baldwin. It’s got some trippy special effects. There’s a point where bullets collide, that’s pretty nifty. Don’t take this too seriously, and you’ll have a lot of fun. There’s also a cameo from the guy who played Larry Kubiac (Abraham Benrubi) in Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, so there you.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Good)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout)
Best Performance: Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston/The Shadow
-As I said, he truly carries the movie. Baldwin’s voice is always great, and that’s no different here. He’s a little weird when portraying the Shadow though, who for some reason has really thick eyebrows. What’s up with that? He laughs like he’s a villain, which freaked me out. As Lamont though, the charisma is dripping out of him.
Worst Performance: Ian McKellen as Dr. Reinhardt Lane
-This was such a waste of Ian McKellen. He just doesn’t do anything except have a couple bad jokes about being color blind. What a disappointment.
Best Line: “I dreamed I tore all the skin off my face and was somebody else underneath.” –Lamont Cranston
-He says this in such a matter of fact manner. And the set up really brings the line its juice. Margo is telling him about this romantic dream on the beach and Cranston counters with this line. Here’s Margo’s calm response after she rolls her eyes; “You have problems.” What a great moment.
Worst Line: “I sense somebody’s coming.” –Moe right before someone falls out the window behind him
-I just hate lame joke set-ups like this. Come on movie.
-The final fight between the Shadow and Khan was pretty cool. There’s a spinning floor, a freaky possessed knife, and a bunch of mirrors explode. You can’t go wrong there.
-The first time we see the Shadow, he’s invisible bagging a bunch of mobsters. Then in a later scene, he’s having a grind it out fight with someone out on the ledge. Why won’t he just disappear! I hate when heroes have all these powers at their disposal and they just don’t use them. WTF!!
-So some dick head makes fun of Khan’s clothes atop a huge building. Khan possesses him and makes him jump off the building. But the best part is watching him fall off in the background. You see like a small black dot bounce off a lower ledge and continue to fall. It’s really funny and cool, but I can’t do it justice.
-It’s very early when Cranston goes to the Tibet Temple and receives his powers. It’s just so poorly explained and really lingers the rest of the movie. Some guy talks like there’s a megaphone inside his mouth, a weird knife flies around, and I just don’t know what the hell is going on. It’s kind of a critical scene.
-I’m going to try and do this justice, because this is fricking hysterical. After the first sequence we get a prologue. Eventually it ends like this: “Thus armed, Cranston returned to his homeland, that most wretched lair of villainy we know as…And then we know what’s coming, but there’s a small delay as the screen fades to black and then…New York City. The fact that New York is referred to as “wretched lair of villainy” is very funny to me. It would have been even better though if the screen faded into Mos Eisley.
Bad Ass Moment:
-Khan’s big bad ass moment comes when he forces a driver to barrel into a fuel truck with a full tank of gas. The poor guy looks so out of it when Khan makes him to do it. What an asshole.