The Wraith-The Original Fast and the Furious
So I am going to start this review by telling you that the only thing that this movie has in common with Fast in the Furious is that it has fast cars and drag racing and similar acting.
The Wraith is a Sci-fi/Adventure/Horror film about a man Jamie Hankins killed by a gang of Car racing thugs running wild in the Arizona desert. He gets reincarnated as/or with a supercar, returns home as Jake Kesey to take revenge on those who killed him by drag racing each member of Packard Walsh’s gang to the death and stealing their eyes for some unexplained reason. But is this awkward Sci-Fi/Horror Mashup worth your time, find out below.
This movie is a prime example of an 80’s movie. This film is a bit of fun; thrilling action packed car chase/crash with a mix of Horror and Sci-Fi flick. If you’re looking for an existential acting experience, this is not the movie for you none of the actors would be up for an academy award for this film however that doesn’t mean that the film is not fun.
The film was written and directed by Mike Marvin the movie itself was shot and completed in 27 days. The budget for the film was 2.9 million dollars, According to Mike Marvin there were several battles with the studio on the direction of the movie. Mike Marvin describes the Wraith as a western specifically High Plains Drifter with the chase scenes inspired by Mad Max and the Road Warrior. See the interview with Mike Marvin here
The Effects in this movie are visually stunning, the car chase scenes are frenetic and action-packed. Visually the film is stunning although there are some places where the CGI looks ridiculous overall the film used real stunts and limited the CGI.
This movie had some of the biggest actors of the 80’s, Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid and B Movie King Clint Howard.
The acting is okay the dialogue although supposed to be serious is sometimes unintentionally hilarious-The 80’s what can you do.
Nick Cassavetes-Packard Walsh-The Leader
Nick Cassavetes plays the perfect bad guy/dick as leader of the Gang, and sometimes he is too over the top, i.e., grabbing the blade and wiping his blood on Sherilyn Fenn’s character cause he loves her and can’t live without her. Overall it’s a great performance his characters is disturbed, and you will hate him. My only problem with the performance is how over the top it was sometimes I wanted to laugh at the intensity he delivered the dialogue. It is funny to think that this actor directed the Notebook.
The King of the B-Movies and Horror king. His presence as the crazy paranoid mechanic/brains of the operation gives on of his best performances rumor is that his hair in the wraith is an homage to David Lynch’s Eraserhead but who knows. He’s the only gang member who seems concerned about what’s going on and the only gang member you will feel sorry for in the film. He is the smart one of the gang and the only one who seems to have a brain.
Skank and Gutterboy
Normally I would be annoyed with these characters, but these guys make the movie fun and are hilarious it’s like these guys were rejected Dumb and Dumber rejects from a post-apocalyptic nightmare -Tweakers hopped up on WD 40 and Anti-Freeze. Halfway through the movie they try and kill the woman their boss is obsessed with by shooting her with a shotgun. Skank and Gutterboy’s dialogue are some of the funniest dialogue ever uttered on screen.
Randy Quaid before he went batshit crazy plays the hapless Sheriff investigating Jamies death and the deaths of the gang members through drag racing. Even though the gang terrorized the town and caused several disturbances and may have killed someone, there seems the police’s hands are tied, and there is nothing he or the police can do about the gang. Although he is concerned with the killings, he seems happy that someone or something is avenging the town and taking out Packards gang. The problem with the performance is that the character just doesn’t show why he doesn’t care about this avenging entity.
The Car is one of the most important characters in the movie. The studio and director/writer wanted an original car for the film so after seeing the Dodge pace car struck a deal with Dodge to use the vehicle. Officially the car is known as the M4s Turbo Interceptor Concept, which was a joint effort of the Dodge Division of Chrysler Motors and PPG Industries the car cost 1.5 million to make. The car was created based on a pace car for the Indy 500. The concept car never made it into production. There were six copies made with only two driveable as the original car was uninsurable. The original did make it into films for beauty and opening shots.
The Soundtrack is one of the best parts of the movie featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Billy Idol, Stan Bush and Bonnie Tyler. There was a fight as the director wanted to use an original score for the film but the studio made a deal with the record label and the studio one. It is a great 80’s soundtrack, and I can’t imagine this music not being in the film.
This movie is a fast fun popcorn, visually stunning with incredible car chase/car crash scenes; however, there are issues/flaws in this film.
I don’t know where to classify this film as there are elements of SCI-FI and Horror with a mix of unintentional comedy (the acting) it doesn’t stake a place in any one genre which has more to do with the plot holes rather than the movie itself.
This film is a quintessential 80’s movie. However, there are several plot hole. The Film could’ve benefited if the plot holes were explained.
First what is the Wraith?
It’s never said but is the Wraith an alien, an angel, a demon, and why does he know have supernatural powers? What is the Wraith we will never know.
Second-The Eyes are the Windows to the Soul
Why after successfully getting revenge are the bodies intact and the eyes were taken, is it that the Eyes are the windows to the soul? The stolen eyes are never explained.
Why Does the Wraith have braces all over his body, The braces are never explained in the film the braces are explained in an in-depth interview. Check out the interview here
Fun facts about the Wraith
The Wraith is a trilogy
Mike Marvin has said he has two movies sequels written after the wraith one called Turbo Interceptor, and there have been movie studios calling about a remake, but he’s not ready to remake it just yet.
The Crow a rip off of the Wraith
The Writer has stated in interviews that the Crow franchise has copied and ripped off the Wraith, although the writer/director might be right, it could also be a massive coincidence.
The Eyes windows to the Soul Part II
Some of the plot the author feels the Crow ripped off Bai Lings fascination with Eyes. In the Wraith, the dead are preserved with only their eyes missing as stated above it’s never explained why this occurs. Check out why the director Mike Marvin says the Crow ripped off the Wraith here
A Tale of two Skanks
The crazy drugged out tweaker henchmen in the Wraith is known as Skank, and the crazy tweaked out henchmen also known as Skank
Eric Draven=Jake Kesey
The writer/director of the Wraith has stated in interviews that he felt the Eric Draven’s character and 36 hours of pain is a copy from the Wraith and Jamie/Jake character and the wounds both had on their body.
Again it could be a coincidence so who knows.
In doing some research, it seems James Barr wrote the crow in 1981 and then published it ten years later, so this is BS.
The original film release was screwed up
To save money, the studio mastered the film at a production house in Canada. Unfortunately, the production house messed up the audio and audiences couldn’t hear the dialogue. It was recut and remastered for home video release.
Let’s do it for Johnny
One of the Camera operators Bruce Ingram was killed performing a stunt the film is dedicated to him. After the tragedy, the film’s creators pitted the crew’s Teamsters against the stunt guys in a demolition derby using cars that had already been wrecked during filming or weren’t needed any longer, to raise money for the families affected by the accident.
The Geeked Gods Score: 8/10
A Fun action packed movie filled with crazy special effects, car chases, over aggressive douchebags, hilarious acting with plot holes. This movie made car chases/racing fun before the Fast and the Furious franchise. It is a unique film that combined Sci-FI/Adventure/Horror with Visual and Special Effects that make a unique film. The film is a cult classic and forever connected to Saturday afternoon movie watching on Pix11. If you haven’t, I would suggest to pick it up on DVD if you can find it.