The Wraith

I have read several reviews about this film that have the gall to say it wasn’t made to try and win an Oscar. I beg to differ. This is the kind of film that should win an Oscar. Love, Revenge, Sex, Death, Henchmen – pretty sure last time I checked all of those elements are in Lord of the Rings: Return of The King, which just happened to win best picture.

Charlie Sheen is murdered by a bunch of road pirates (think 50’s style street racers in 1986) after a falling out over a girl. He is reincarnated as the new guy in town along with a magical Knight Rider-ish car (or a close facsimile). He came back to do two things: 1. His old girlfriend and 2. Kill the evil car gang. What’s not to like about that plot?

Of course, there is a kicker. No one outside of the audience knows that the new guy in town (Sheen) is actually the deceased boyfriend.

Now if a movie could literally be made out of the 80s this would be it. Not the happy go lucky cocaine crazed 80s or even the John Hughes angsty version. No, this movie reminds me more of the part of the 80s that upon looking back are laughably bad. For example, most of the ‘super’ cool cars in the movie just suck. Think 80s Mustangs that Ford has tried to pretend never existed. If you like those kinds of cars, frankly, I am sorry for you. Christine, Black Cadillac, and The Car are all much better examples of killer cars in film.

The soundtrack is also pure 80s with Motley Crue, Ozzie Osbourne, and Billy Idol pitching in a song or two. If you are a 80s music fan this may be the best part of the film. If you don’t like synthesized rock then you may hate it.

Never at any point is the movie even a fraction scary. We know who is killing who and why – hence no suspense. And all the bad guys deserved to die in pure moral terms.

I did however find a couple parts of the movie rather strange. First, every death scene was identical. Charlie Sheen would race ahead and park his car in the middle of the road. An unsuspecting car gang member would race into Sheen’s car and explode. The magic car would the reform itself and Charlie would drive off.

Secondly, every victim was found, miraculously, in perfect condition minus the eyes being sucked out even though they had literally been blown up. I don’t know – this isn’t explained.

Randy Quaid plays a cop here (just like he did in Black Cadillac) and Nick Cassavetes rounds out the cast as the gang leader.

The movie gets a little repetitive but overall is a nice flashback to a simpler time. A time when people could steal cars and get away with it, well until Charlie Sheen comes back from the dead and kills everyone.

Snore Factor: ZZZ

IMDB 1986

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  • Mr. Sledge

    Don’t forget that this film was shot in Tucson. Take a look at it again and see if you recognize any of the cactus (or the mountains in the background). Why no mention of the smoking Sherilyn Fenn aka Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks? She was hotter than Arizona asphalt.

  • Micah

    Yeah, Tucson is prominently featured. :) And that chick was hooking up with Johnny Depp, right? I believe he may have been on set throughout shooting. I imagine Charlie and Johnny pulled some major Arizona tail.