[rating=0]Starring: Edward Furlong, David Boreanaz, Tara Reid, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Dennis Hopper, Marcus Chong, Tito Ortiz, Rena Owen, Danny Trejo, Macy Gray
Director(s): Lance Mungia
Writer(s): Screenplay by Lance Mungia, Jeff Most, Sean Hood
It isn’t often that I really dislike a film. More often than not there’ll be something in it that will stop me from hating it. It could be a scene, an actor or actress, any small little thing that will save it from total disgust.
There is no such thing in The Crow: Wicked Prayer.
This is a bad movie, pure and simple (hence the no popcorn rating). The dialogue is horrible, the acting is terrible, and the story is jumbled and poorly constructed. I mean, it’s not bad in a “bad movie” kind of way. It’s just bad. I actually was pretty shocked just how bad it was, on almost every level. I think perhaps the only thing that could have saved this movie, or at least made it worth it, was to have a little gratuitous nudity — and it doesn’t even have that.
In this sequel, which takes place in the American Southwest, Jimmy Cuervo (Edward Furlong) is an ex-con who is in love with a local Indian woman, Lily. The two are brutally murdered by escaped convict Luc (David Boreanaz), who with his girlfriend (Tara Reid) and a gang of killers, plans to use magic in order to resurrect Satan. But the Crow returns Jimmy to life to seek revenge for his murdered girlfriend and stop Luc from raising Hell — literally.
Man, I felt bad just trying to describe this convoluted plot.
I’m not exactly a fan of the Crow movies. It’s not that I don’t like them, but I’ve only seen the first one, which was good. But this film didn’t even seem to have any of the same flair or style of the previous movies. The tone that was found in the original is completely discarded, one of Wicked Prayer’s biggest problems. The best comparison I could make is if someone made a Batman movie like it was a Superman movie, or vice versa. It just doesn’t work, and ultimately undercuts the effectiveness of the character.
Listening to some of the audio commentary from director Lance Mungia, he says that one of the things they were trying to do was take the film in a different direction than the previous films. While I understand this, what they actually accomplished was take the Crow character out of its element. Without the dark, brooding surroundings he’s not nearly as interesting and actually becomes a bit comical.
But where Wicked Prayer really falters is the acting. There isn’t a good performance to be found here. Everyone horribly overacts, from Furlong to Boreanaz to Reid. So much so that I would guess it was intentional, but it comes off as so phony I don’t want to think anyone thought it was actually good. It smelled like many of these people were doing it for the money, and their acting comes off that way.
The fight sequences are also terrible, even for a film with a clearly low budget. The stunt work is bad, with the fights consisting mostly of people just getting thrown around. When Furlong tries to get fancy with some martial arts moves, which was so important to the original film, it comes off as clumsy.
Even the story doesn’t escape the mediocre. The motivations of virtually every character is dependant upon a convoluted concept of American Indians protesting a local mine and looking to build a casino. But the logic of this conflict is so obscure that it is virtually unrelateable. And the cursory explanation its given at the beginning is thin at best, making if even more obscure.
The DVD of The Crow: Wicked Prayer has several special features, including a shocking FOUR audio commentaries. Each feature the director, Mungia, being paired up with different people. Rarely do big budget films get this many commentaries, so I was just floored to see that this one got that many. But they did provide some insight into what they he and the producers were thinking when they developed this movie. However, with the film being so terrible, I kind of found it hard to swallow so much of what they said.
Run Time: 1 hr., 39 mins.