That’s not to say Garland Scott’s central performance is poor. It just doesn’t feel reigned in or honed, if you will, by an assured helmer, someone who clearly sees the character’s trajectory and knows how to make it resonate with the audience. One minute, Nolan is an introverted convict, partying and going to the mall with hookers; the next, he’s a crazed hero of sorts, hell-bent on rescuing his family. Stokes gives Scott the impossible task of keeping up with his character’s zig-zagging traits, as well as the film’s tonal shifts.
“…lacks a well-structured plot and a compelling hero.”
Which brings me to my main issue with this Ghost. Is it a seedy exploration of a city’s underbelly and its misplaced characters? A throwback to revenge flicks of yore? A love story? A character study? All of the above? If so, the film moves too slow to appease the action demo, yet its sentiments aren’t enough to hold the attention of someone looking for a more cerebral experience. The dialogue doesn’t help, especially the word vomit that spews out of the motor-mouthed, shrill, reprehensible Stitch. “P***y awaits!” he yells at one point. “All right, ladies, you’re coming with me,” he tells the hookers at another. “I paid for the night, and this stiffy ain’t gonna help itself.”
The Ghost Who Walks contains glimpses of true inspiration. I dug its soundtrack of soul, R & B, and jazz music. The two highlights – a brutal fight inside a bathroom stall, and Nolan’s Santa-suit-donning escape towards the end – are unnerving, impeccably shot and edited. Stokes should have played to his strengths and strung together a chain of high-octane, pedal-to-the-metal, take-no-prisoners action scenes. As it stands, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
"…contains several exciting and hard-hitting scenes...dedicated to a meandering and clichéd narrative that doesn't hold together."