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
Rugheads truck is not a Chevrolet, as noted before, but a GMC as can be seen by the GMC emblem on the grille. See more »
After the garage shootout Packard's Corvette shows large repairs on the back, although it was only shot on the front. See more »
You think I'd go to California with you? I'd rather go to Nogales, have the Gutterboy's cretin children and die than to be with you.
You better shut up now, Keri, or I'm gonna have to...
Yeah, you can kill me, too, Packard, but you can never make me love you.
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Essentially a revved-up sci-fi version of High Plains Drifter with 80s teens and the cute young spirit of vengeance driving the Mad Max Interceptor instead of riding into town on a horse, The Wraith is one I've remembered fondly since first seeing it on Monstervision with Joe Bob Briggs in the 90s.
The story is, as other reviewers have noted, pretty hopelessly stupid, with dialogue alternating between bland and quotably goofy. Sheen, though top-billed, has little to do and isn't particularly charismatic when he's on screen. Consequently, the Wraith experience is all about the superficial elements: slick car action, hot 80s pop, eye-pleasing girls, etc. Also noteworthy, however, is the colorful supporting cast, including Randy Quaid as the sheriff, and scene-stealing comic relief cretins Skank, Gutterboy, and Rughead (the eternally fascinating Clint Howard sporting an Eraserhead 'do).
It's amusing to see the wild array of user reactions to The Wraith, ranging from exaggeratedly laudatory ("Sheen's Post-Impressionist Masterpiece", whatever that means) to dismissive ("Really bad 80's cheese") to indignantly blunt ("crap!!"). It really depends on how you feel about the wacky decade that unleashed The Wraith, a disposable 80s trash flick par excellence. All you need to know is that this movie is 80s to the max. I might be disposed to dismiss The Wraith as time-wasting crap, myself, if it weren't for the fact that it's such utterly fun and nostalgically classic crap.
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