Searching for a movie suitable for the Octoberfestival of Horror, I came across Wolfen. Looked suitably threatening, and two of its stars, Albert Finney and Edward James Olmos, are top-notch. Ugh, what a mistake. There's two hours of my life I'll never get back.
The movie opens up with a rich couple being carted around New York in a limousine. The director is quick to point out that there is a full moon. Gee, wonder if anything bad can happen in New York during a full moon in 1981? Captain Stupid and his wife get out to play in a park under the watchful eye of their black driver. Or is he a bodyguard? Let's watch. There's something stalking this trio of idiots. We know it has to be something unnatural because whenever we view the scene through this unknown beast’s eyes the colors go all wonky. Our driver/bodyguard is the first to get thrown under the bus as he barely has time to draw his gun before his hand is ripped off. Captain Stupid and his wife follow in short order. Not a bad opening. We're not sure what's going on, but it seems like we have the makings of a pretty decent werewolf story.
Nothing could be further from the truth. What we have here, my friends, is more like a decent episode of Cagney and Lacy. Only not as hot. Tyne Daly. Yum, yum! The police have to get on this one right away as our victims were none other than Christopher and Pauline van der Veer, he of incredible wealth and fame, heir apparent to the presidency. He also dabbles in real estate ventures. Let's call in A-1 detective, Dewey Wilson, played by Finney. But if he's Cagney who is to play Lacey? None other than Gregory Hines in the role of Whittington, our local medical examiner. Has a partner movie ever worked out with Hines on the job? White Knights? Running Scared? Doesn't work here either.
What follows is an overly convoluted plot that is just plain boring. There are many red herrings to be had. Is it the work of terrorists? Indian shape shifters? Nope, just plain old wolves. Seems that when the wolf population started to get wiped out, the "smart" ones decided to go underground. Yep, that's right, for some time now the wolves have been secretly living in the subways and the ghettos of New York. And not just New York, but every major city in the good old US of A. So why have we never heard of this? Because they're sneaky bastards living on the sick and infirm. Drug addicts, bums and prostitutes. The kind of people no one would ever miss.
So why would the go after van der Veer? Good question. I wish the answer was worthy. They've learned that Captain Stupid is about to begin a huge new construction project on their prime hunting ground, the Bronx. I told you, they're very smart. And apparently excellent climbers. In the ridiculous climax, Finney flees to safety at the top of a skyscraper, but this is no protection from our lupine friends. They're waiting for him out on the balcony and they bust right through all of that pretty glass.
This film is just boring. Pace, people, pace! I'll give it a single Hamlin for Olmos running around naked acting like a wolf.
Hamlin Grade: 1
Big Daddy Yum Yum