I wasn't my fully developed geek self at the ripe old age of 4, but something tells me that the Russell Mulcahy's telling of The Shadow sent fanboys heads spinning. That is, if DC psychic The Shadow had a large fanbase to begin with. Starting out as a radio series and later developed into a pulp comic, The Shadow was writer Bob Kane's inspiration for Batman.
While there have been many great interpretations of the hero who destroys his enemies psyche... this is not one of them. In fact it's so off-base with its plotline, total lack of respect for history, and flat out ridiculousness, I'm surprised DC hasn't shoved this one in a dark closet.
Yet at the same time Alec Baldwin gives to The Shadow what Adam West gave to The Batman, an unintentional campiness that makes it strangely funny despite its flaws. How? Lucky for you no one cares about this movie enough to take it off Youtube so you can watch alongside!
5. Origins Destroyed!
In the radio interpretation of The Shadow, Lamont Cranston is a wealthy businessman who happens to have psychic powers that help him fight crime. In the comic and movie adaptations leading up to this, he was portrayed as a war veteran who faked his death and returned to America using his ability to cloud minds to conceal his identity as he fights crime...
In this movie he's a Chinese drug lord whose name translates quite literally to "Eagle's Beak" or "Dark Eagle" (conflicting translations). His motive for changing his ways? He's captured by a holy man and forced. All of this training to become The Shadow is not in the film by the way. Apparently filmmakers thought you would find footage of Baldwin in an opium den looking like a shut-in more appealing.
4. Where's Your Powers Bro?
Cranston has the ability to change his identity, phase in and out of existence, and drive his enemies to madness. Yet despite all of this, he only uses his powers to their fullest extent at the beginning and ending of the film, despite them coming in handy for literally every situation he finds himself in. Why? My only reasoning is the movie would be too short if he merely phased out of every trap that was sprung for him.
3. Watch From 4:00 In Above Video To The End.
In case you missed all of that basically the sequence of events went as follows. Man who the Shadow rescued asked how he knows his name, cab driver and the Shadow laugh hysterically, the Shadow gives a smart ass response, cab driver and the Shadow laugh hysterically again. The cab driver drops the man off and returns to see Cranston in a cold sweat. When asked if he is all right--he doesn't look it--he requests to go to a nightclub. There he downs three martinis in the course of five minutes, mind-rapes his uncle, then tries to twist a woman's mind (unsuccessfully) to sleep with him.
This may have outdone James Franco's pie scene in Spiderman 3.
2. Genghis Khan's Last Living Descendent Is Here! He Has A Weakness For American Bourbon And Brooks Brothers Suits.
If you're a cynic you'd say there's no way the Mongolian Warlord still has descendants, even in the 1940's. If you're a realist you'd say there's no way this guy is the last descendent as Khan was a serial rapist and likely had children in the hundreds. Whichever option you go with is not good, yet the beat goes on.
This is probably the most confusing part of the film. It is here you learn that mummies only come from Egypt (wrong), man can survive several years in an enclosed space (wrong), and that despite living your entire life in Asia in the early 20th century, it's still possible to aquire a taste for American bourbon (nope).
After collaborating with Tim Curry to create an atomic bomb to blow up the city, his plans are thwarted when he is stabbed with the same screaming knife you see in the opening sequence. Looks like a flesh wound but apparently it tears out his soul or some s***. That really wasn't explained either.
1. The Final Song
Doesn't mesh with the movie, not a popular song by the band, still the best way to cap off this film. Honestly though, when this started playing I could not help but clap. This movie was so ridiculously offensive to everything that was The Shadow that it was perfect. If you want to see the film in question in non Youtube format it's available on Netflix for instant streaming. You will be disappointed, but you won't care.
Email Me: MickJoest@Geektyrant.com Twitter: @MickJoest