Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Why, THE SHADOW, of course. Too bad Alec Baldwin did not know a weak script when he saw it. The story begins in 1920s China where Ying Ko (Baldwin, not yet The Shadow) is a brutal Chinese warlord. Awakened out of his sleep by a voice, he is summoned to a local holy man who confronts Ying Ko’s evil deeds with the now ominous statement: “You know what evil lurks in the hearts of men. You have seen it. But, you will be redeemed.” He proceeds to send Ying Ko forth with “the power to cloud men’s minds” to fight evil in a most horrible land…New York City. The issue of redemption and transformation into the Shadow persona is never delved into or even defined. Without it the audience is afforded nothing with which to identify and left only with this mystical, ambiguous mission of relative “good”-ness to spur our hero onward.
Great period costumes, hot vintage automobiles and occasionally dazzling special effects are not enough to shore up the corny occult elements, mediocre acting and swiss-cheese concept behind THE SHADOW. Face it, this Shadow fails to be larger than life, a major flaw for any respectable super-hero, or at least one who wants a sequel.
(LL, VVV, S, A, M) New Age world-view with Eastern influences--mind control, mental telepathy & concentration techniques used for both good & evil; 7 obscenities & 15 profanities (14 exclamatory: "oh, my God," etc.); several murders, several telepathically induced suicides & violent, sometimes bloody, fighting; several sexual innuendoes, but main character sends his female companion to a guest room for overnight; several backless dresses and revealing poses, but no nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, evil plot to overtake the world is foiled.