Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gargoyle: Wings of Darkness (2004)

Reviewed By: JM

An underrated little gem, for sure, Gargoyle: Wings of Darkness is exactly the kind of move that we at Tower Farm love to champion. Frankly, how could a movie starring the title character from Eddie and the Cruisers battling flying demons that are every bit as convincing as Jessica Rabbit go wrong?
Oh, yeah, and the director, Jay Andrews, is really just a pseudonym for director Jim Wynorski. Yes, the same Jim Wynorski that brought us Cheerleader Camp, The Haunting of Morella, Sorority House Massacre 2, and Return of the Swamp Thing. According to IMDB, he is currently working on something called Camel Spiders. I don't know anything about that one. Judging from the title, though, I'm going to go ahead and call it at four fingers. Frankly, as I look over this director’s resume, I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Wynorski is trying to woo the Farm. Well, sir, you can stop trying so hard. You had us at Busty Cops .

Like many straight-to-DVD titles, the entire movie was shot in Eastern Europe, for, what I can only assume, was pennies on the dollar. Unlike similar-looking titles, like Wrong Turn 3 and Pumpkinhead 4, this movie, at least, does not try to pass off it’s environment as a rural American landscape. Gargoyle: Wings of Darkness takes place in Romania.
Opening in, ehem, the year 1532, we watch as a very period-appropriate-looking hottie and a priest defeat an attacking Gargoyle, sending it down a giant hole in the ground. As luck would have it, the villagers had a gigantic boulder on hand to roll over the opening and seal the gargoyle inside.

Clearly, this is not a very good long-term strategy. But, like patching a cracked windshield with tape, I guess it works for the time being.

In fact, this shoddy plan actually was effective for almost 500 years. The next scene takes place in 2004. Within the next ten minutes, we are introduced to pretty much every character in the movie.

Firstly, we have the awesome team of Ty “Griff” Griffin and Jennifer Wells . They are sort of a B-movie Mulder and Scully...which, I guess, is a little redundant. Jen and Griff are a lot more entertaining (and frankly easier on the eyes) than the duo on whom they are clearly modeled, though. This CIA team is brought to Romania to investigate some kidnapping thing. They are the couple on the right…
We are also introduced to a young archeologist, Dr. Christina Durant. She sports a nice update of the Patty Duke flip. She has a couple of assistants. But, they die off so quickly, they are hardly worth a mention.
There is alsoa priest. Who knows? Maybe he will turn to be the hero of this flick… Okay, you're right. He’s the bad guy. I am pretty sure the bad skin and blond highlights are a dead giveaway that he can’t be trusted.
In no time, the digging team (consisting of two people) finds a cavern full of Gargoyle eggs.
Okay, so you might think you have a handle on this movie. It seems pretty straightforward… a couple of CIA agents looking into a kidnapper’s killing stumble into a supernatural mystery involving gargoyles. Well, all of that is true. Then, almost right at the halfway point of the movie this happens:
What can I tell you? Just keep in mind the director is Jim Wynorski.

Of course, in the end, there is an epic battle between the gargoyle (and some baby gargoyles) and our CIA agents. Lots of machine guns and a big fiery explosion wrap things up.
All in all, a very enjoyable little movie. It has good pacing and the characters have enough witty lines to help keep the viewers attention from drifting too much.

In fact, this movie boasts something I don’t think I've ever seen before. Early on, there is a pretty standard car chase, where our CIA man is in hot pursuit of a car full of felons whipping around narrow European streets. It is a well done scene, but pretty familiar to action-movie fans. But, about halfway through the chase, both cars spin on a wet street and, in moments, the bad guys open fire on the American agent and start chasing him! I can honestly say I don’t remember seeing that happen in a movie before. It is that little bit of cleverness that makes me think that there is more going on in this movie that most would give it credit for.

Three and a half fingers!

3 comments:

  1. JM,

    I remember when we first watched this movie and were dumbfounded at the characters of Jen & Griff. To say they are "based" on Mulder and Scully is like saying Grizzly was "based" on Jaws. And I mean that in the best way possible...because, let's face it, Grizzly is WAY better than Jaws.

    And by the way, speak for yourself on the "Busty Cops" -- not everyone at the Farm is a fan of such a thing. Thankfully for you, IMDb also reports that Jimmy directed something called "The Thing Below" -- which I've never seen but I'm assuming is a hot gay rom-com. Therefore, I agree that he's the greatest director ever.

    =Billy

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  2. Thanks for the comment Billy. I can't believe the homerun I hit with this review. To date, its only comments have come from the writers of the blog.

    I am so cool!

    JM

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  3. You guys really do leave the best comments, I think everyone else is just intimidated by the awesomeness =D

    Im always soooo fucking leery of anything that could potentially play on the SyFy channel.. but then I see a cool cover or a sweet image of the monster like you guys posted and Im instantly all in again!

    If highlights denote evil, my wife must be the antichrist lol..

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