The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)
Director: Lance Mungia
Town black sheep Jimmy (Furlong) and his main squeeze Lily (Chriqui) are axed out by Crash (Boreanaz) and his motley crew. Why? All part of a satanic ritual to turn the Crash-Man into the Anti-Christ. Shite hits the fan when a crow brings Jimmy back from RIP land and he sets out to violently make the wrong things right.
I am a huge fan of The Crow! Loved the graphic novel, adored the first film and even though the sequels were flawed, I still found lots to groove on within them. It’s with immense anticipation that I’ve been waiting for
The Crow Wicked Prayer (hitting DVD shelves on July 19, 2005) to
fly my way and today, it finally got here.
Vaguely inspired by Norman Partridge’s graphic novel of the same name, The Crow Wicked Prayer was an ambitious
opus, one that attempted to go further than its low budget (the coin must have all gone to the name cast) and that succeeded in its goals
off and on. In some ways this third sequel stood on its own more so than the previous ones
where it bravely expanded upon The Crow mold we all know so well.
The novel approach began with the sly execution of the baddies who were given
their own back-stories and individual motives behind their ugly actions (read
those early villain exposition title cards carefully or you might get
lost down the road). Result; the bad seeds were more than the paper cut out
goons that we‘re used to within the franchise, think semi-conflicted and somewhat layered human beings instead. What a breath of dead air! The striking desert setting was also a welcomed departure from the standard urban landscapes. It not only gave this sequel a fresh visual aura but affected the narrative as well with the small town’s political tension and the many relationships on hand kicking in to give the familiar premise an ounce of much welcomed “oomph”.
As for the love story, well it was refreshing to see these two crazy kids in
love before the fact for once. It surely helped that the luscious Emmanuelle
Chriqui was the object of affection. Strength and beauty baby...strength and beauty!
Can't go wrong!
Performance wise, the stand-outs for me were Edward Furlong as The Crow and
David Boreonaz as the lead villain Crash. Furlong gave us a more grounded and
almost anti-hero like take on the supernatural avenger while Boreonaz wound up
being the highlight! For the first hour of the picture, it was his
show. The man’s intensity, focus and purposed viciousness made him the most memorable Crow villain since Top Dollar owned all in the original. Boreonaz
enthusiastically sank his fangs into the part, milking every second he had onscreen. Sometimes he’d
stand there motionless and you’d see his noggin working over-time via his
expressive eyes. AMAZING! I loved him to pieces…up until the last half hour that is… more on that later. Then
we had the action scenes which were played down compared to the other films: down and dirty fist fights, charging/flying beings
(wirework...wasn't fully sold on that) and one inventive shootout (the blanket pow-wow
bit owned). Although not as "big" as in the other Crow films, they still came through
in their own rights. Last but not least, the poetic, colorful and artsy directing style (the photography was amazing) tagged with the American Indian flavor within the costumes/sets gave the flick quite the unique vibe, one that I couldn’t take my eyes off. Good shite!
On the dry side of the maggots, the film’s low budget dragged the flick down in
places with off-screen kills, a key explosion not being shown (we needed that one), awkward editing cuts and occasional continuity goofs (Why was
Jimmy's face painted white? He never painted it!). And was that “crow in flight” stock footage from the previous films that I
caught? You bet it was! Too bad they didn’t match with the scenes at hand (clear skies versus cloudy close ups).
Furthermore, the film's zippy manner of addressing its relationships and plot turns grated me. Honestly, I had to watch this
sucka 3 times to fully grasp the whole of the storyline. Not good! To make
matters worse, there were so many interesting rapports going on in this film on a human level
and the film rushed through most of them. I so yearned for more meat on the
various bonds (especially Crash and Jimmy). Not everybody suffers from A.D.D you know! COME ON! WORK WITH ME!
My thickest beef with the movie though was its sloppy last half hour which lost its footing to plunge into the abyss of the ridicule. We get an
aggravating Macy Gray popping up (why???) and an even more annoying Ebonics spitting Dennis Hopper pissing on what should’ve been an enthralling
twist in the story. What was that all about? Hopper ruined it for me! After
that, it was Boreonaz’s turn to go all over the place and become an over acting buffoon.
Bummer! He was doing such an excellent job so far! Somebody should’ve piped him down! Lastly, you haven’t lived a full life until you’ve seen the great Danny Trejo take off his shirt and do a “rain like dance” around a wounded bird. I couldn’t stop laughing
my beak off, it looked utterly absurd! I’m sure that wasn’t the intent!
On the whole, The Crow Wicked Prayer showed me a good time via its well
constructed, acted and directed tale. It's unfortunate that it didn't end up
being all that it could've been. One thing is for certain, it is worth a watch,
namely for Crow fanboys like myself. Fall in love, lust or in hate? Your call!
Most of the kills were either dry or off-screen. Bummer. We do get a ripped out heart, some stabbings, light blood and an impaling though.
Edward Furlong (Jimmy) gave a raw and credible show that fit snuggly within the film’s intended down to earth tone. Good work! David Boreanaz (Luc) stole the show most of the way with his intense, economic and charismatic display. Its a shame that he was misguided for the last half hour. Tara Reid (Lola) nailed it as the white trash girlie who loves her man. One of her better performances if you ask me.
Emmanuelle Chriqui (Lily) brought class and dignity to the role. She’s pretty hot too!
Marcus Chong (War) worked most of the time but he overdid it in places with the ‘psychotic” facial expressions. EASY TIGER! Yuji Okumoto (Pestilence) was on the ball as the ill and high off his ass sicko! Tito Ortiz (Famine) didn't have much to do but he did it adequately. Danny Trejo (Harold) felt “off”. Maybe I’m not used to seeing him in these kind of roles, or maybe he’s not used to playing them…not sure. Dennis Hopper (El Nino) simply DIDN’T WORK! Did he improvise that Ebonics crap or was it scripted? Who knows? Either way, it was pure CRUD!
T & A
Its ladies night on this one with David Boreanaz and Tito Ortiz doing the shirtless doo. At least I got to stare a Tara Reid’s yummy lips for a buck and half, almost better than full frontal nudity…I said almost!
Lance Mungia’s offered up a visually rich, colorful (Lots of vibrant red here, you see that tree?), flashy (dug the peyote bit) and arresting (loved the slow motion) film one that I personally couldn’t help but be affected by. I dug it the most!
The score by Jamie Christopherson amplified the emotional resonance of the images perfectly. Add this one to the collection of Grade A scores that each Crow film has sported. We don’t get any rocks songs in this one but you know what? It wouldn’t have worked anyways. It wasn’t that type of Crow party.
The Crow Wicked Prayer was a touching, visually wooing and mostly well acted flick. It aimed higher than the franchise’s narrative boundaries and its own low budget, hitting the mark more than half the time. Sadly the flick rushed through its relationships/plot turns in the name of pacing and its final act lost its kool in terms of the leveled feel that it had established thus far. Although the film didn't hit my bull's eye 100%, I did respect what it accomplished and what it tried to do. I’m up for a The Crow Part 5! Let’s make it a female Crow next time guys! It’s long overdue!
The flick was shot in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Yuji Okumoto (Pestilence) was Ralph Macchio's nemesis in the fun sequel The Karate Kid Part 2.
Thanks to Mathieu for the hook-up!