Director: Richard Friedman
Kane Hodder/Biker guy
The city, hot girls, a brooding cop, disposable side characters, lots of jugs and a tacky werewolf. Decipher the plot for yourself.
"Darkwolf" is one of those ultra-low budget movies that tries real hard to be more than what its coin allows it to be. It compensates for its shortcomings with chain breast flashing, which is a good thing since the female nudity would get a rise out of me, but a bad thing since the storyline was cheapened and hindered due to it.
At the core of it all, there’s a very simple tale in this rice bowl, lifting its pattern off "The Terminator": Badass is after a girl, a cop who knows what’s going on protects her...let the ride begin, right? Wrong. Although I did get some random moments of action, this flick was mostly too busy putting out lengthy dialogue sequences (with awful lines to boot), corny “mythology” exposition and keeping tabs on too many characters to thrill me the right way. It should’ve just concentrated on the cop, the dame and the hunter instead of giving the disposable junk so much screen time. This narrative needed more focus on its primal reason for existing in the first place: the hunt! But at least we got lots of female muffins in the oven, right?
Production values wise, the werewolf went from looking “ok” to laughingly “guy in a suit and dime store mask” bad. And although kind of gnarly, the CGI transformations would have looked way cozier in a video game than a feature film. The staging of the action/stalking stuff didn’t fare too well either. Since the budget was low, the physical happenings suffered, holding back on the goodies that should’ve accompanied them. For example, there’s a police station fiasco akin to the one in "The Terminator" (yes, again…I guess the film was an inspiration) but since they didn’t have the Benjamins to back it up, the scene was communicated via quick cuts and after the fact RIP cops. That’s called a missed opportunity to give us horror fiends lots of potent carnage. Bummer. But we got rows of melons, right?
So is there some fun to be had with this three-legged canine? Well, apart from the wood-inducing rooftop girl-on-girl "going at it" routine and a couple of wet gore scenes, there wasn’t much legit amusement in this park. On the flipside, you can do what I did and play “let’s pick on the movie” which is in itself a laugh riot. Notice how Kane Hodder’s bandana vanishes into thin air when he transforms into a wolf? Notice that the sound used to express the wolf running, is really a horse running? Notice the nipples on that chick? Notice the plastic guns? And then there were the unintentional chuckles. The awful dialogue had me rolling like Snoop Dog when I wasn’t groaning at it and some of the scenes were ridiculous to the point of entertaining for the wrong reasons. My favorite silly bit had to be where the cop dude took the time to read a book while a female werewolf attacked him. Come on!! What the hell was that? PLEAAAAAASE! And he actually found what he was looking in that damn book too! Yeah right! I should mention that we do get lots of chickadee silicone airbags throughout the film though.
On a positive stab, I will give "Darkwolf" a "B" for effort and big balloons. The images put on display were very polished for a film of its budget and the effort put in by all behind the scenes came out the screen. The acting was also surprisingly decent and taking into account the ear-grating/giggle-fit inducing dialogue that the players had to vomit out of their mouths, that was quite a feat. The lead chicks (Samaire Armstrong was so "Arrow approved") were also pleasant to the eye and Kane Hodder looked mucho badass even with his limited screen time. I also dug the Tippi Hedren cameo (what happened Tip? Mortgage on your house is that bad?) and was that slick hombre Steven Williams (The Duke in "Jason Goes to Hell") in the opening? You bet it was. I LOVE THAT GUY! Should’ve given him the lead role! Did I mention that we get lots of round Bouncers in this pet shop?
When "Darkwolf" wasn’t being such a talky bitch or straying from its main plotline, I’d get a few strokes out of it in a “kitschy”, B-movie kind of way. The female flesh peddling and the unintentional laughs were also "fun times" and I even warmed up to one of its only really good ideas (the scent angle)! In the mood for a brick of cheese sprinkled with smut dust? Howl at this moon! ZIPPPPPPPPP!
The gore here went from cheapo to effective in a simple way with dismemberment, lots of after-the-fact chewed up bodies, flesh being ripped, deep clawings and more. You’ll see red, but will you laugh or be disgusted? That is the question.
Samaire Armstrong (Josie) was awesome when the lousy dialogue wasn’t taking her down. Baby needs a better project. I smell stardom. Kane Hodder (Biker guy) looked mean and hit the gym for this one. Dude is pumped! Andrea Bogart (Stacey) was credible as the easy hot chick. Ryan Alosio (Steve) was on the ball as the token "cool cop” with too much mousse in his hair. Tippy Hedden (Mary) was solid in her scene but...why is she in this film again? Aaron Van Wagner (Tom) did ok and he looked a lot like Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys. Is that a good thing? You be the judge. KILL HIM WOLFMAN! KILL HIM!!!!!!!!!
T & A
The film opens in a strip club, filled with topless chicks and their Cachongas implants. Thinking that was that for the easy licks, the film went on to feature a lot more Coconuts throughout and even a steamy lesbian tease show on a rooftop. This one bordered soft porn on occasions. The ladies get a mucho buff Kane Hodder who went as far as showing his ass and some other dude with his shirt open.
I dug the red scene transition flashes, the standard wolf POV shots and appreciated the minor suspense. Unfortunately, the low budget was obvious and that hurt the most when it came to the limp wolf attack scenes.
The score had a good beat, but they kept reusing the same bit over and over again, to the point of self slapping. We also get some metal and a pop dance tune.
I dug DarkWolf’s basic premise and if handled with more money, a more focused script and less soft porn tendencies...this could’ve been "The Terminator" for werewolves. What we've got left is laughs at its expense, decent acting and more B-C and D cups than you can shake a Philly Steak Sandwich at. Basically, another Friday night at The Arrow’s. For what it was, I had an okay, if not forgettable, time with this puppy and recommend that you see it drunk with friends or when feeling like an insomniac. Or better yet, just go to “Hooters” with your dog and a copy of "The Terminator" in your back pocket; same experience.
"Darkwolf" comes out on April 15, 2003 in video stores.
Samaire Armstrong appeared in “Not Another Teen Movie”: she played Kyra. She also played Natalie Gordon in the "Lord of the Flies" X-Files episode.
Playboy playmate Jaime Bergman also co-stars in the film and her performance sucked like a girl sucking tennis balls through a tennis racket.