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9.4 12 10
FanFix April 27, 2013 3139
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It took me a long time to finally see the theatrical version of The Shadow. For some reason it always looked like a poor knock-off of Burton’s Batman which had jumped on the bandwagon and arrived too late. In fact, it was only when I heard Bob was lending his skills to a fanedit, that I finally picked up the DVD to watch it.

My fears were partly confirmed by viewing the normal cut. Perhaps not necessarily in the “Burton Batman” comparison, but whilst I enjoyed certain aspects of the movie such as the excellent production design and Jerry Goldsmith’s majestic score, director Russell Mulcahy struggles to consistently engage the viewer with too many moments coming across as flat and rather uninspiring. Some of the blame must also lay with David Koep’s average script.

However, Bob’s said intention to inject some life into the film, to bring out the best elements was more than enticing enough to make me want to see The Shadow Strikes!

Firstly, the change to black and white does absolute wonders for the film. Whether it’s because the film noir style lends itself naturally to the old fashioned “serial” feel of The Shadow character, or just that it gives the film a little more gravitas, I’m not entirely sure.

There’s little doubt that the film benefits from an injection of urgency too. Some expert invisible cutting is evident here, creating a Shadow which feels more energetic and fun. Granted, the original cut was not particularly over long in its running time, but it had the feeling of a film dragging its heels – never a good thing. Thankfully, Bob has eradicated this problem, even managing to make Baldwin more convincing in the title role.

Granted, the film still has problems. It still can’t quite leap off the screen at you with the kind of vibrance or excitement which you so desperately want it to have. However, Bob’s version is a vast improvement and unquestionably is now my “go to” version. The Shadow Strikes, indeed! ;)

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