For those of you too young to remember the original SHADOW from the old radio series, you may find this movie in good taste. To those of us with the Shadow in our memory banks, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Starring Alec Baldwin as The Shadow, Penelope Ann Miller as Margo Lane, Peter Boyle, Ian McKellen, Tim Curry, and an interesting Jonathan Winters as The Shadow's uncle and a police detective.
The movie begins with Alec Baldwin fighting his nemesis Tuiku. This is in some dim past life (sorry I was out of the room when they gave the date for this one) and it is the point that The Shadow receives his remarkable powers. The story proceeds to early 1900's New York and you now see The Shadow aka Lamont Cranston, playboy about town who meets up with Miller aka Margo Lane. Oddly enough she is involved in journalism of some kind. These are just a few in a long line of Batman look-alikes.
The music is so reminiscent of Batman I expected to see Boy Wonder at any moment. Throw in the magic taxicab (Batmobile), the glowing "We need you, Shadow" ring (Batsignal), the ever present servant and procurer (Alfred), and the ominous 'study' with the teleprompter (Batcave). The Shadow wardrobe consisted of a long black coat (Batcape) that for some reason always had its' own personal air supply so that it could float around his body, a low slung black hat (Batcowl) and strangely - a break from the norm - a bright red hanky covering the lower portion of his face (Batmask none the same).
It is unfortunate they chose to deviate from the original Shadow so much and try to gobble the glory of Batman because in of itself, The Shadow would have made a fine movie. There were outstanding special effects with Shadow inflicting his powers on those opposing him, including his poor uncle (J. Winters), a really cool dagger that turned out to be a shape changer with quite an evil face, and some interesting hypnosis by Shirwan Kahn (John Lone) a descendent of Genghis.
The movie centers around the fact that Shirwan Kahn was come back to life (or maybe he never died?) and he wants to take over the world. Enter Lamont/Shadow to save the day. He teams up, reluctantly, with Margo because 1)he thinks she is hot and 2)her father (McKellen) is missing. He is the original absent minded professor but unfortunately very intelligent. He has developed a new little toy known as the A-Bomb, so we pretty much know where this is going - Shirwan wants that bomb. Tim Curry is McKellen's assistant and darn if he isn't also involved with Shirwan. Unfortunately for him, his meeting with The Shadow does not go well.
There ensues a good deal of interaction between good and evil with some very interesting special effects. In all, the movie could have been better if they would have left Batman in his cave and concentrated on the character as originally portrayed on radio and again in comics. The setting was much better than Batman though, with the city being way more believable than the infamous Gotham and Penelope certainly shows a fine array of body language in her clothing. I don't recall any nudity in the movie nor any adult language, but there is a good deal of violence albeit somewhat unbelievable.
Did the good guy or the bad guy win in this gig? "Only the Shadow knows"
Pros: entertaining and nostalgic, good fantasy adventure for family viewing Cons: overblown fantasy, limited appeal The Bottom Line: Can Sam Raimi bring a new light to the Shadow? Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. In 1930's China a wealthy American has risen to the top of the underworld, and no act is too ruthless if it means keeping his power. The Tulku (Brady Tsurutani), … more
"Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? The Shadow knows." Based on the long- running radio program, this atmospheric feature follows the exploits of Lamont Cranston, aka the Shadow, as he battles the last descendant of Ghengis Khan who has come to take over New York City through mass hypnosis. See other new releases, "Behind the Mask" (1937) and "The Shadow Strikes" (1937) for the first film adventures of the Shadow.