Packard Walsh and his motorized gang control and terrorize an Arizona desert town where they force drivers to drag-race so they can 'win' their vehicles. After Walsh stabs the decent teenager Jamie Hankins to death for being intimate with a girl whom Walsh wants for himself, the mysterious Jake Kesey arrives, an extremely cool motor-biker with an invincible car. Jake befriends Jamie's girlfriend Keri Johnson, takes Jamie's sweet brother Billy under his wing and manages what Sheriff Loomis can not - the methodical and otherworldly elimination of Packard's criminal gang. Written by
Back in 1986, The Wraith just about qualified as a moderately entertaining alternative should the video rental shop be all out of copies of Aliens or Top Gun; however, when watched twenty three years later from a nostalgic point of view, this silly supernatural revenge flick actually proves to be a whole heap of fun. Charlie Sheen's lifeless performance; the sheer naffness of the race scenes; an ever-present pop/rock soundtrack; Nick Cassavetes' ridiculously nasty boo-hiss bad guy; a collection of annoying comic-book punks with idiotic names and silly mannerisms: The Wraith is perfect for anyone looking for some mindless popcorn action and a bit of a laugh at the expense of the decade that taste forgot.
Sheen plays a restless spirit who returns from the afterlife in a turbo charged ghost car to seek revenge on the reprehensible road pirates responsible for his death, rescue roller waitress Keri (the scorching Sherilyn Fenn) from the clutches of psychotic killer Packard Walsh (Cassavetes), and say goodbye to his younger brother Billy (Matthew Barry).
Although the film's star isn't really given that much to do (for much of the time, Sheen's character is hidden behind he wheel of his otherworldly car or in a silly cyberpunk suit and black full-face helmet), the excellent supporting cast more than make up for his absence: Randy Quaid is great as a desert cop trying to make sense of the carnage; Clint Howard gives another memorable performance as a mechanic with crazy hair; and Fenn is effortlessly sexy, and gets her top off once or twice during proceedings.
With more cheese than one of the burgers served up by Keri at the Big K bar, The Wraith is a great time-waster and recommended to all fans of 80s cult cinema.
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