In 2008, Wesley Snipes was convicted for “willful failure to file federal income tax returns.” He was sentenced to three years in prison, a term which started on 9th December 2010. During his tribulations with the court, Snipes completed filming of Gallowwalkers; a story about a man, Aman, who was born into curse after his mother, a nun, had broken her covenant with God to save her unborn child. The curse Aman carries is that all victims that die by his gun return from the dead. After killing a gang of outlaws in revenge, they return to seek revenge on him. Although filming in Namibia had concluded before his sentence, Gallowwalkers was never released due to his incarceration. After three long years of waiting, does the film live up to the extra hype created by any of this?
There’s something about western films that tend to get action movie seekers a bit excited. When you combine this “western Blade” theme with zombie-based villains, revenge and fast-draw gun-slinging you’re more than likely have a recipe for success, even for a B-Grade film such as this. What we got, however, was anything but. If you’re looking for a deep-seeded story here, you’re out of luck, as the premise is as deep as it gets. Often you can swap out storylines and dialogue for all-out action entertainment and still produce something decent for a limited crowd. The fact is, Gallowwalkers manages to rid its 90 minutes of even such basic necessities.
Gallowwalkers attempts to introduce an element of religion to the story by giving Aman some righteous purpose. Throw in some nuns, and a parish in the middle of a desert and the theme is complete. What happens as the ‘story’ unfolds is more blasphemous than righteous.
Despite the 90 minute duration, there is actually very little dialogue from the film’s ‘protagonist.’ Most of the story is explained in narration by Aman; something I can agree had to be added, as without it, there’s nothing much that makes sense. The standard interchange, banter and conversation are replaced with long, awkward stares, and horrible one-liners.
The movie had been scheduled for theatrical release in 2013, but instead it became a straight to DVD title, and also available on iTunes. What we get in terms of a film from Gallowwalkers is, unfortunately, nothing but hype. As it turns out, the peaked interest in the film relied solely on Snipes’ three-year prison sentence, which ended up being more of a story to follow than the film itself. Even if Snipes had been acquitted of any wrong doing for tax evasion, he would have definitely deserved it for starring in this. Jokes aside, if the only positive points about a film are its location and costume design, there shouldn’t be a debate on whether it’s worth watching.