Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 146: Wolf (1994) - Rank 3/5


I can see exactly how this one was pitched: "It's Jack Nichelson as a werewolf!" In fact, that premise is what undoubtedly attracted anyone who saw the film - myself included. Furthermore, in theory, such a concept should be awesome. The wise-cracking, swaggering ham channeling his evil side once again as he'd done before for "The Shining" or "Batman" - both awesome performances. But there's something about Jack with blazing gold contacts, long fingernails and fake teeth, prowling by the moonlight, that's so, well...silly.

The film's basic story is actually a decent, modern take on the werewolf legend. It focuses on a middle-aged publisher Will Randall (Nichelson) who is stuck with a lousy job and an unfaithful wife. But when he's bitten by a wolf in an accident, he begins to take on the animal's characteristics (aggressiveness, energetic, etc.)to the point that they physically manifest themselves and he begins killing by moonlight. The entire concept of lycanthropy within the confines of the film is an allegory to the shrewd, cutthroat attitude it takes to succeed in the business world.

In fact, when Nichelson was on screen anytime he wasn't in the throes of devouring a deer or something equally as animalistic, he had the same air of charm and magnetism that he carries in most of his performances (I was personally cracking up at a scene where he urinates on the shoes of his undermining partner, played with obnoxiousness by James Spader), quipping "Just marking my territory). Furthermore, the supporting cast is excellent with Michelle Pfeiffer as the love interest and Christohper Plummer as her father and Will Randall's crafty boss. It's just that when Nichelson is on screen as a werewolf, it feels more like the actor's getting into the Halloween spirit than truly letting his intimidating side out.

Watch the Trailer

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