A great take on this fun, underrated, gem of a movie. The new opening sets up the main character much better. Now we only find out later in the story, appropriately through a nightmare, how disturbing the Shadow's past is. The black and white works really well, though I love the richly saturated colors of the original. The "reel changes" are a clever way to set the tone of old, worn film without forcing us to watch the entire movie that way. In all a great success.
Despite the improvements, this movie remains flawed. Much better than the clunky story of Doc Savage (1975), it falls short of nostalgia for the 1930s of The Rocketeer (1991). But for fans of The Shadow, there's no alternative (until the if-wishing-made-it-so animated feature in the style of W.M. Kaluta using Orson Welles' voice from the salvaged radio plays!).
While not a perfect replacement for the original, I find myself watching this version more often than the color original.
I saw this one in the theater and loved it right away. The movie is a solid throwback with some minor pacing flaws and a few weak jokes. BionicBob realizes this and simply makes minor cuts to make a good movie even better. I did not notice any editing flaws and the pacing has been improved and feels great. It's just a tighter and better movie now.
My only complaint is a personal one and I'm even conflicted on it: the use of black and white. BionicBob was trying to make this seem like a movie right out of the 50's so black and white works fine, but the problem is that the movie also looks great in color. The scientist being colorblind also does not work so well in black and white.
That being said, the edit is great and I highly recommend it.
A slew of retro movies came out in the 90s, doubtless inspired by the Indiana Jones series. Where the Jones’ movies were rooted in action oriented cliffhangers, the 90s era films, Dick Tracy, The Phantom, Rocketeer, and The Shadow, among others, harked back to 30s pulps and comics. I saw the later films theatrically and was disappointed by each. Eventually, I bought Tracy and Shadow on laserdisc for a buck each.
The Shadow could have, and ought to have been, an excellent ride. Alec Baldwin had more screen charisma in his role than Beatty, Zane, Campbell, or much later, Jude Law. He and Penelope Miller also sparked undeniable chemistry, perhaps not romantic, but they definitely worked as a couple. Then there was the set design and costumes, all top notch.
Unfortunately, the movie was undermined by poor writing and sloppy direction. The Shadow seemed aimed at eight year olds, circa 1950s. The narrative was gauzed in fuzzy, misplaced nostalgia. No one bought in, not adults, not teens, not children. By the 90s, we were all much too sophisticated.
Bionic Bob has done a remarkable job, raising the enjoyment several levels. The black and white sheen is perfect, not only with the Manhattan set design, but with characters, especially in gowns and tuxedos. What cuts Bob made, I could not tell, yet the narrative flows quicker and seems less silly than I remember.
The sound mix was a dynamic, often aggressive, two channel LPCM. Too loud during action sequences (drew comments from others in the room), too quiet with dialogue. I ended up using headphones. I hate suggesting this, especially as a music geek, but I think normalized audio might have worked here.
The black and white seemed inconsistent. Pristine sharp in some scenes, soft focus in others, and scratchy and dirty in others. I didn’t mind, but every time a scratch appeared I noticed.
Aside from those quibbles, BB’s The Shadow Strikes! is a classy improvement, easily recommended.
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! ;)
So per usual, I rewatched the original again before watching bob's edit. I also avoided reading any reviews of his edit as well as his cutlist and intention (all I knew was black and white and 4:3 AR).
I remember really enjoying The Shadow as a kid. I thought it was a cool movie. But this was the first time I'd seen it in at least 15 years. So as I rewatched it, my mind was already working thinking of what I would cut or change to improve the movie.
Enter: The Shadow Strikes. Very cool DVD menu! And the edit itself...bionicbob, to quote Chris from Family Guy: "get outta my head!" I love that you removed the intro scene with the flying posessed dagger in Tibet and all that jazz. Worked perfectly to just use the flashback stuff. And having the movie start with The Shadow dealing with some bad guys is definitely a stronger start to the movie.
Also have to say you did an awesome job removing all the horrible humor in this movie. "Nice tie, Brooks Brothers, is that midtown?" God, I wanted to puke when I heard that crap. So glad that was removed!
The 4:3 and B&W definitely worked for this movie since it takes place in the 30s or 40s IIRC? It could have easily remained widescreen and color, but those changes that bob made worked fine for me.
This is the first bionicbob fanedit that I've ever seen. (Unfortunately the source material/subject matter of most of his edits have been movies or shows that I have either never seen or am not a fan of). But I thoroughly enjoyed this edit.
The editing was invisible to me. Audio and Video quality was up to par, although there was some graininess and dots and lines at various points on the video ;)
I hope that some of your future projects also cover material that I'm a fan of as I'd love to see more of your work! Well done bionicbob!