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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Wraith (1986)

According to the dictionary, a wraith is a ghost or ghostlike images of someone, especially one seen shortly before of after their death.  True to it's definition, The Wraith is the story of Jamie who is killed by a gang of thugs and returns in a new form to seek his revenge.  The film stars a young, clean and sober Charlie Sheen as Jamie/Jake.  He does a nice job with the role although his performance is a bit understated.  Nick Cassavetes [Face/Off, Alpha Dogs] is the gang leader, Packard Walsh.  Although he feels a bit too old for the role [Think Luke Perry in Beverly Hills 9020] he is the most believable of the pack.  The rest of his gang are too cartoonish to be convincing or menacing. 
Sherilyn Fenn is Keri, the love interest in this triangle.  Her character is sweet and adds some much needed emotional depth to this movie.  Matthew Barry also does a nice job a Billy, the brother of the deceased Jamie.  He is also quite a likable character and helps give us a reason to care what happens on screen.
Overall, it is filmed well but, for whatever, reason I simply can't get too excited about The Wraith.  It's predictable from start to finish and you pretty much know where it's going every step of the way.  The soundtrack is classic 80's tunes featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Robert Palmer, Bonnie Tyler and more.  It's fun but doesn't add a great deal to to establishing the mood of the film.  It's more like a giant jukebox that plays random hits.
The Wraith car design and "space suit" are nice.  They are probably the most interesting elements of the film.  Finally, all you pyros out there will love the explosions.  WOW, they really had some firepower at their disposal.  It was impressive to say the least.
Perhaps, with a stronger cast of gang characters, The Wraith would have been a better film.  For me it chugs along at an even keel but is lacking something in the end.
RATING:  Good.
For more info check out the episode's entry in IMDB.

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