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IFDB Review: Shadow Strikes!, The:

MCP

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Warning: I watched this edit in 640p. Please take that into account when reading this review.The Shadow Strikes! is a prime example of how little really needs to be changed in order to turn an OK movie into a really good one. The switch to black and white should always have happened. Many bad lines are removed. That godawful prologue is right where it's supposed to be: gone. No more red fingernails; no more goofy as hell knife fight; no more bad wig, and Lord has the movie improved from that massive flaw alone.A/V Quality: 9-Visual Editing: 9Taking FCE's limitations into account, this was fantastic. Not taking them into account? It's still fantastic. The bright colors of the theatrical release are gone here in lieu of a more classical low contrast black and white. So many people use black and white wrong: the shadows are too dark, the visuals are too sharp, etc. You nailed it. Scenes that were cut, trimmed, and added were seamless. If I had seen this the first time, I wouldn't have known the difference.The opening crawl did seem like your basic slideshow but considering the terrible, terrible, original opening it was still a vast improvement and I did like seeing the gallery of Shadow artwork through the ages.Possibly the only thing I would have done without was the film scratch effects during the scene transitions. For the most part these were fine, but every now and then they would noticeably fade from the screen. Removing them altogether probably would have been for the best, but now I'm just being nitpicky. They didn't ruin the movie for me at all.Audio Editing: 10The cut one-liners are a more than welcome removal and adds a sinister 40's serial tone that the theatrical cut had always tragically lacked. No more "Oh, that knife." That alone was a wonderful thing. The removal of the Shadows one-liners during his fights also added a nice bit of intensity that the original didn't provide.Narrative: 10Cutting the cringeworthy prologue wasn't just because it was bad and needed to disappear. It also added something the movie desperately needed: a sense of mystery. Again the Shadow is an enigma. He still has a past in Tibet, but now that past is illustrated in hints, lines, and visions that makes the viewer think. The Shadow's history is no longer spoonfed right off the bat, and as a result the sense of wonder survives to the end.The change in color scale also served a purpose. What was once hokey and stupid in bright cartoon colors is now charming and funny in a more mature black and white. The entire atmosphere has replaced goofy camp with a certain golden-age charm that reflects a simpler time.Enjoyment: 10I'll admit, I wasn't too fond of The Shadow when I watched it the first time. I snagged it out of a bargain bin and still felt jilted. Sure it picked up and improved along the way, but it still wasn't good enough for me, and the DVD just got packed away in a box.If I'd picked up The Shadow Strikes! however, I would have had it in my DVD player far more often. BionicBob, you have turned a crappy B-movie into the love letter to old serials that the Shadow had always deserved. Thank you.

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