Based on the 1930's pulp fiction and radio drama series, the film pits the hero against his arch enemy, Shiwan Khan, who plans to take over the world by holding a city ransom using an atom bomb. Using his powers of invisibility and "The power to cloud men's minds", the Shadow comes blazing to the city's rescue with explosive results. Written by
Michael Ross <M.I.Rossfirstname.lastname@example.org>
The billboard of the "Smoking man" is a parody of a real one that actually blew "smoke" rings. The original was for Camel cigarettes, whose motto was "I'd walk a mile for a Camel!" The "Llama" cigarette motto parodies this with "I'd climb a mountain for a Llama!" See more »
Khan causes a sailor to climb over the security fence and jump from the Empire State Building committing suicide. The movie is set in the 1930s. The fence was not added until 1947. See more »
This movie got poor-to-middling reviews when it was released in 1994 but I still hold out hope that it eventually gets its proper respect in TV and Cable reruns, because it's a terrificly entertaining film. Maybe it just takes a certain frame of mind or background to enjoy this movie, but I absolutely love it and frequently go back to it when I want to see how a dark, edgy, and FUN movie is done right.
Alec Baldwin is excellent as Lamont Cranston/The Shadow. Baldwin has never achieved the commercial sucess many predicted for him and this movie perhaps shows why; Baldwin doesn't play a straight protagonist. The movie begins with Cranston as a hedonistic warlord in China and then jumps to his reformed Shadow persona is 1930's New York, and it is Baldwin's performance, which teeters between serious and funny, nice and cruel, that bridges the gap.
Russell Mulcahy and crew did an excellent job creating a 1930's-noir feel to the picture. One of my friends complained that the movie sets were "too obviously fake", I think he missed the point. They re-created the feel of a 1930's movie set, not the 1930's itself!
The movie is a bit campy at times but thankfully maintains the dark edge of the Shadow character, who has no qualms about killing or maiming his opponents (hey, this guy was a bloodthirsty killer in his previous life, you think he's going to forget how to use that power when he changes sides?). John Lone does a nice job as the Shadow's opposite number, Shiwan Khan. The supporting cast is excellent as well (Jonathon Winters, Ian McKellan, Tim Curry) with perhaps the exception of Penelope Ann Miller, whose character and performance were rather annoying, but I can live with it.
Overall I give this movie a BIG thumbs up and recommend it to anyone that enjoys fun movies. I've gotten a mixed reaction from friends I've recommended it to but I think this is the kind of movie where if you like it all, you'll love it.
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