[EN: This review was written by guest journalist, Aaron Nicewonger (email@example.com).]
Title: The Crow: Wicked Prayer
Director: Lance Mungia
Writers: Norman Partridge and Lance Mungia
Distributed By: Dimension Films
Starring: Edward Furlong, David Boreanez, Tara Reid, Dennis Hopper, Danny Trejo
Release Date: June 3, 2005
MPAA: Rated R
Jimmy Cuervo (Edward Furlong) is an ex-con living in Lake Ravasu on the Raven Aztec reservation. He was imprisoned for killing a would-be rapist in a fight. Jimmy plans to start a new life with his girlfriend, Lily Ignites The Dawn (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and leave the town for good. Lily’s priest father, Harold (Danny Trejo), and brother, local cop Tanner (Dave L. Ortiz), both hate Jimmy. Tanner isn’t really important to the plot, but Harold is near the end; if you actually plan on watching, I’ll save the spoiler.
The town is home to a group of Satanists led by escaped convict Luc “Death” Crash (David Boreanaz) and his fiancée Lola Byrne (Tara Reid). Along with their three confederates “Pestilence,” “Famine,” and “War,” Luc and Lola murder Lily and Jimmy in a brutal ritual that will cause Satan to manifest through Luc’s body. As usual, the mystical Crow resurrects Jimmy and sends him on a quest to avenge his and Lily’s death.
Let me start by saying that the original comic, The Crow, has spawned a lot of spin-offs: from movies, TV shows, a game, more comics, and even novels. One such novel was the basis for this film. So, what we have here is essentially a movie, based on a book, inspired by a comic, which inspired a film, to which this particular film serves as a sequel to. Did you follow all that? Basically, we have a spin-off of a spin-off of a spin-off. You know when you make a copy of a copy of a copy, eventually you get a drop in quality?
This movie represents that drop in quality.
If Wicked Prayer had had twice the budget, and twice the talent, it could have been a lot better. The only actor here not hamming up the place is Edward Furlong, but with performances from Terminator 2, American Heart, A Home of Our Own, and American History X, it’s clear to see he performs well more often than not. In fact, Furlong delivers my favorite line of this film. During his first encounter with one of the cult members, Jimmy (Furlong) is about to give in to his new urges and kill the man, but stops himself. He tells the guy to warn the others that, “I’m afraid of what I’ve become. You tell ‘em, they should be too.”
Unfortunately, the twerp taunts Jimmy, and gets himself killed anyway.
The worst performance of the bunch comes surprisingly from Dennis Hopper, who plays the leader of a Satanic Cult, and dresses like a pimp. This is both shocking and sad, considering Tara Reid is in this movie. It’s so over the top and cheesy. I’m talking Waterworld levels of bad, people. I’d cite specific examples, but really I can’t. It’s his whole performance, which thankfully is mercifully short-lived.
Speaking of Tara Reid, the only good thing I can say about her performance is that she gives Mr. Hopper a run for his money. Seriously folks, she’s almost as bad as he is, but the difference here is clear. Dennis Hopper seems to know he’s in a bad movie, so he’s hamming it up all over the place, whereas Tara is dull and wooden and boring. It seems as if she was going for somber or some sort of subdued sexy, but she comes off as lobotomized.
This is really sad, because anyone that’s seen her performance in “Scrubs” or “Van Wilder” knows she can actually do SOMETHING when it comes to acting.
Like the film before it (The Crow: Salvation), this film tries to offer a unique spin on the typical revenge plot, by adding in a satanic rite, and a possible Hell on Earth scenario. But for the most part, it’s the same old tired “go from one kill to the next” plot with little to no innovation.
This movie also does, however, manage to offer a cool and unique explanation for how THIS new Crow gets his expected “Crow” look. His black clothes, coat, and make-up are part of a celebration called “Raven Fest,” which he was going to attend with Lily.
For the most part, this film is a stereotypical revenge flick with too many clichés from the other films, and not enough of their good qualities.
One thing this movie does differently from ALL of the previous films, is the music. A wonderfully moving score was created by Jamie Christopherson. Scores were written for the other films, but they relied heavily on pre-existing songs for a standard soundtrack. Now, don’t get me wrong, those soundtracks were pretty good, but there’s just something classy and emotionally stimulating about the use of an original musical score, and a touch of class is something this movie definitely needed.
The Crow: Wicked Prayer is not a terrible movie, but it’s certainly not good, either. I give it a 4.5 out of 10.
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