The Wraith (1986) Poster

(1986)

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7/10
A Bit of 80's Fun!
metallikat7427 January 2007
My brothers and I used to watch this movie all the time, probably when it was on HBO back in the day. It was a nice piece of nostalgia. Since I had viewed it so much as a kid, it was like going back and watching a movie you almost know by heart but at the same time weren't really sure what was going to happen next.

The soundtrack was great, with the likes of Ozzy, Billy Idol, Robert Palmer and others. Looking at all that 80's "fashion" was fun too. The DVD box didn't say the year but I had determined it to be about '86 or '87.

I couldn't help but draw a comparison to this storyline and that of "The Crow". "The Crow" is definitely a darker piece of fun but the same "guy done wrong takes revenge and finds his girl" wasn't hard to miss.

All in all, if you're looking for something fun, with a great soundtrack, cool cars and fast car races, check it out!
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Lost and found!
Lovechild_775 January 2004
Well, this movie is one of those half-forgotten gems of this cool decade. As a child I use to rent this movie over and over again but then I forgot it's name when I grew older. Recently, when I started to look for old cult 80s, I stumbled upon this little nice saga. The story is ridiculous but quite entertaining (I love revenge ;)) and there are many strange plot-holes through the whole movie. So why bother renting or buying this old s*** you may ask? Well if you are a child of the 80s and saw it back then, it can bring back some nice memories. If you are from that time but have not seen it, you MUST see it. Everyone else, just see it and enjoy a movie with one of the greatest cars ever on screen. For those who have seen it I just must make some statements of some of the major flaws in the film. How come that the police just let the thugs steal all the nerds cars in a small town like this? (very strange) And why don't the stupid morons see that they're next to die on the list when their buddies fall off one buy one. No fear at all...=) Well... all and all a funny flash-back. You know from like ten minutes into the movie how the end will be, but you'll KEEP on looking...
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10/10
Great action, good characterisation, superb soundtrack
Mark-19229 July 1999
One of my all-time favourites. A nice idea in the spirit of "The Car" or "Christine" with great action (mostly of well-show car chases in Tucson, Arizona). The characters were well constructed and (on the whole) well implemented by the actors, with Nick Cassavetes stealing the show as nutter, Packard Walsh.

It also launched the careers of Charlie Sheen and Sherilyn Fenn (Fenn's fans will be happy to see "more" of her in this one).

The rock soundtrack is superb and a real collectors' item nowadays.

The original video cover was nice in that it was a holographic cover. Subsequent sell-thrus resorted to a standard litho-printed cover.

For a night in with a pizza and a few mates round, this is a great film.
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Good, cheesy fun
lizzy-819 May 1999
This movie survives only because the plot idea is kinda' cool. The rest of it is tremendously cheesy, but the excellent car and a compulsive 80's sound track make this a movie worthy of a night in and a bucket of popcorn. Put up your feet, put your brain to bed, sit back and enjoy.
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9/10
This IS a classic 80's b-movie!
sa42012 March 2005
It makes me laugh when I read bad reviews of this movie. No one claimed it was a classic, no claimed it would win awards or prizes for depth of storyline etc.

What it does have is earnest performances, fantastic fx, amazing score and very pretty photography.

Yes, laugh at the shadow of the camera (in the days before monitors) during the race scenes, at least they bothered to use real cars on real roads at high speed, unlike pathetic cgi cars (fast & the furious, 2 fast 2 furious, gone in 60 seconds) with crap physics.

This movie is totally innovative, nothing like it before or since and there are a lot of techniques used in this movie that I haven't seen bettered since. The bit where Jake's scrambler breaks into 4 meteorites still looks great, the tasteful re-animation of the Wraith mobile after crashes (nowadays that would probably be done using reverse photography).

The action scenes in Mad Max & Mad Max 2 are sped up and look ridiculous. (Watch the bit in Mad Max 2 just before he crashes his Interceptor...you'll see.)

The acting is pantomimish (baddies=very bad, goodies=very good) but that is the style of this movie. We know that these actors are capable of more in-depth characterisations, but this is a shallow b-movie. That's all it's supposed to be. Anyone who watches this movie and expects anything other than popcorn fodder is an absolute idiot. Moaning about technical problems and poor acting only makes you look like an idiot. And let's face it, even today's biggest blockbusters are chock full of mistakes and glitches.

You don't watch a Carry On movie and then say "Oh, that was quite unrealistic, and the acting is bad." That's the point. It's silly farce. You're not supposed to take it seriously!

I'm also aware that Charlie Sheen hates this movie and he must have good reason.

Strangely enough, I'm surprised that this movie was not seized upon by the pompous comic book brigade! I guess, if it was a little more Gothic and The Wraith was brooding and had a troubled back story it would have been more accepted. I'm glad it didn't and wasn't.

If it was made now, it would have stinking CGI fx and too much back story.

It's a bubblegum movie. You don't like it, don't watch it. As a b-movie for it's time, it is a technically superior easy watch which still towers over many newer movies of the same genre.

The Crow? Pompous nonsense!

Hellboy? Crap!

The Wraith? Know's it's place and doesn't try to overstep it's mark!

And for people moaning about rubbish acting, check out Matthew Barry's performance when Billy Hankins realises Jake is his brother. It's an amazing, emotionally charged moment. I dare you to disagree and if you do you must be tripping.

Stop henpecking this movie.....it's ace, I tell you...ACE!
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8/10
mindless fun
quarsom227 December 2005
Let's be serious... this movie isn't meant to win an Oscar. It's just supposed to be fun and in my opinion succeeds on every level. The script is hokey, yet there are some really tender moments, like when Billy Hankins realizes who the Wraith really is. The acting is OK but this isn't Shakespeare. This movie is a great escape. Plus the revenge angle is definitely cool. The ending is actually a little reminiscent of "High Plains Drifter", where there is that one unspoken moment where fantasy and reality blur. This is actually one of my favorite films of the 80's. Sure it is massively dated, but, interesting none the less. Just a side note.... one of the waitresses at the drive in is a young Brook Burke of Wild On and Rockstar INXS fame!!!
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10/10
The Wraith is a fun thrill ride through the 1980s.
somme2218 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The Wraith is the perfect movie to watch on a Saturday night. The film is much more than the amazing cars and the great 80s soundtrack.

The Wraith is a film that centers on the arrival of a new guy in town-Jake Keesey (played by Charlie Sheen). His arrival will disrupt the activities of Packard Walsh's gang of car thieves. Almost at the same time as Jake's arrival, a new car roars into the lives of Packard and his gang. This strange black car causes everyone in the gang to feel as if they need to race it. Yet what no one knows is that the new strange car is out to destroy Packard's gang. And there is something else. The Wraith. A mysterious spirit that is somehow connected to the new car. Packard soon realizes that there is something strange going on, something that is perhaps connected to him..to something that he and his gang did..perhaps even connected to that new guy in town, Jake.

I think The Wraith is a fantastic movie,although in my opinion, the film could have been more creative with the car racing sequences and maybe could have explained a bit more about Jake and his past, but otherwise I have no other criticisms. The gang of bad guys was mean but at the same time they offered comedic relief and fun. Characters such as Skank (played by David Sherrill)will always be memorable whenever I watch this film. I also have to comment on the fantastic soundtrack, great wardrobe, and great opening sequence.

The Wraith is a fun thrill ride through the 1980s.
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7/10
You've just gotta love the spirit of the 80s.
BA_Harrison8 June 2009
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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9/10
Sheen's Post-Impressionist Masterpiece
cari002114 July 2005
Very few films past or present stray from the predictable form of a fluid linear narrative. Exposition, conflict, resolution, and possibly an occasional flashback or revisiting of an earlier moment---these are all staples of visual story telling.

Charlie Sheen's late 80's action masterpiece THE WRAITH, however, successfully ventures down a road much less traveled by filmmakers, a road which guides viewers through an assemblage of scenes which seem somehow related, but give no indication of how or why.

Ingeniuosly, the many questions of THE WRAITH, much like the guiding directions in other impressionist images, provide a grander picture of a straight forward story of love, loss, and revenge. Who is the angelic avenger that, one by one, picks off the gang of road-rash-ruffians in a futuristic car? Who, inexplicably halfway through the picture, receives his untimely demise from the ruffians in the trunk of car? Can it be the same character so craftily played by Sheen, a charming young man who both befriends the young short-order chef and knocks boots with the buxomly Sherilyn Flynn?

Thankfully the audience is given a clue to THE WRAITH's avante-garde modus in the air brushed leather jacket of Nick Cassavettes: the skull-among-flames symbolizes many things, maybe most important of which is the picture's dramatic refutation of sensible organization. The line between the beautiful, bone-white skull and the jacket's hot, licking flames, is blurred in the same fashion as the line of narrative arch which threads through THE WRAITH.

80's Action connoisseurs will appreciate the steely-eyed performance Sheen gives, as well as the supplemental contributions of Chuck Howard and Randy "Uncle Eddy" Quaid. From the first moment Flynn appears on the screen, there can be no doubt that Sheen will take her to the mat---or in this case, an Arizona hot spring---and there can be no doubt that Cassevettes and co. will receive their devilish comeuppance. During the course of such a spectacle, the audience must then ultimately ask itself, will we be able to handle the power contained in rest of this film? And if so, more importantly, will we be able to ever again stomach the banality of traditional film?
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6/10
An 80's Wonder
jrfranklin0126 December 2004
If you care to travel back to 1986, you'll see a young and not-yet popular Charlie Sheen star as a ghost with a vengeance. This, of course, means that you'll have to endure a few eighties quirks, which gave the decade its unique character.

"The Wraith" is a creative story about a bunch of drag-racing town bullies who are into taking what they wish, mostly by force. The town police (although shown as macho) appear feckless in apprehending the thugs. The town's populus remain largely actionless due to their fear. The kingpin of these hooligans is Packard Walsh (Nick Cassavetes - son of famous actor John Cassavetes). Charlie Sheen plays Jake, the reincarnation of a slain victim (Jamie) of the town thugs. He appears out of nowhere and soon begins conversations with Packard Walsh's girlfriend, an action considered lethal. Soon a mysterious driver with an exotic, futuristic-looking car (the real-life Dodge-Chrysler Interceptor M4S) appears on the scene and begins drag-racing Packard's gang into the grave.

This film gives us some great eighties in it's soundtrack which includes Robert Palmer and Billy Idol. It also gives a look at the popular "punk" look of the eighties in the character of Skank. I recently discovered that the Wraith's car was a real-life automobile. And only one original model was actually loaned from Chrysler. The other shots were of "shell" models, without engines, etc. During the filming of the good drag-race shots on the mountainsides outside of Tuscon, one of the crew members was killed and another critically wounded.

I had some dislike for the film in the completely idiotic and helpless nature of Packard's thugs. In fact, I had a bit of trouble in believing the entire town's pacifisim towards Packard. There is one strange scene involving a sexual encounter between Packard and some local girl, where she thanks the sheriff for showing up. This just didn't add any credibility. But then again the whole movie is a bit incredible, especially the Wraith's car and its ability to keep that Windex shine after blowing up. And I never did figure out what the deal was with that one part that glowed at the end of every crash. More 80's sfx...? I chuckled for an instant though when I saw the Wraith enter Packard's warehouse in that "spacesuit" with what appeared to be a "space shotgun". What was the deal with that? I was beginning to think Jake's body was beamed aboard an alien ship before he died and now he was returning with their technology.

A good story for the eighties, but not one to take too seriously. Be sure to admire Sherilyn Fenn's teeny character, Keri. Oh, I also read you can buy an M4S Interceptor replica for about $70,000. Ouch! 6/10
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