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Shepherd, The

Shepherd, The (1998) Movie Poster
  •  Canada  •    •  90m  •    •  Directed by: Peter Hayman.  •  Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Roddy Piper, David Carradine, Heidi von Palleske, Mackenzie Gray, Raymond Serra, Marina Anderson, Fraser Reilly, Daniel Lévesque, Jules Delorme, Tony Curtis Blondell, Elisa Schwarz, Cory Stevens.  •  Music by: Donald Quan.
      In a post-apocalyptic underground society ruled by rival religious cults, Dakota is working as an assassin, or "Shepherd" for The Church of Miles. He has been given an assignment to take out a female Shepherd from a rival cult, but balks at completing the task when he sees that his target has a young child. The two assassins and the child all find themselves being hunted down by both cults, and so decided to stick together as they run for their lives. Along the way, they encounter several other strange religious compounds, as well as random thugs living on the outskirts of society.


Image from: Shepherd, The (1998)
Image from: Shepherd, The (1998)
Image from: Shepherd, The (1998)
Image from: Shepherd, The (1998)
There are only a few movies which can be called `must see' and SHEPHERED is one of those films. In many ways it was ahead of it's time (and you can tell it was a source of inspiration for several better-known films) Copied by many, equaled by none, this truly is one great movie.

The story is complex but unfolds itself as a taut yet frequently amusing thriller and highly thought provoking exploration of the nature of humanity. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where people must live underground and chaos reigns. C. Thomas Howell is a `Shepherd' one who protects the populace for various religious leaders by killing off any unfit members of the society. The whole idea made me think about our society. It's really a brilliant social commentary, which is more than I can say for certain recent sci-fi/action blockbusters. MATRIX RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS didn't make one feel that any real innovation was taking place, just dull video-game effects. But SHEPHERD scores on the action scale too...

Not once does this movie let the viewer catch their breath. Peter Hayman proves himself to be one of the few genius action directors. We're talking 100%, high grade, down home kung fu fighting! It was excellent. Really good special effects, shoot-outs, bleak-futuristic cyber-punk noir style... the film really has its own elements.

When talking about SHEPHERD, it's impossible not to mention how much style it has. The vision of this city is really stunning. It recalls images of Tim Burton's very memorable vision of Gotham in BATMAN. And these sights are photographed by Graeme Mears with a degree of skill that puts Gordon Willis and Conrad Hall to shame. Even the special effects proved amazing. Doubtless the scenes where fighting occurs are landmarks in all of filmmaking. This movie is a ballet of awesome visual display.

Still, at the base of it all, there lies an interesting story, carried through by a strong cast. The acting (especially Rowdy Piper) and the plot are both great, and excellently directed. In contrast with loads of futuristic films made with a strong artificial flavor, the characters are believable and the dialogue is natural and full of wit. I'm always proud to see a great film like SHEPHERD come along. It's a damn shame that it didn't receive good distribution and made nothing in the box office. It's a rarity worth searching for. This movie will impress you and make you feel 10 times cooler for having seen it!

Review by dave-1093 [IMDB 15 February 2003] from the Internet Movie Database.