With bad editing and terrible miming, Tara Reid (at her usual level of atrocious) cuts out the eyes of Lily (Emmanuelle Chriqui at her worst) and hangs her because she… likes her eyes, she hints. But merely it’s there for shock value sans the shock. Every single performance in this movie is excruciating with Boreanaz mugging for the camera with an over the top zealousness incapable of playing off of Reid who couldn’t act off of a cardboard box. The two have zero chemistry thus you can’t buy that they’re lovers and partners in crime. Then Mungia relies on the talents of Eddie Furlong to carry the movie once Chriqui has worn out her welcome and Reid fails to pick up the slack, which is their biggest mistake because he’s hard to buy as this imposing harbinger of death and looks bloated most of the time.
The big reveal of him in face paint is hilarious and he has little to no dialogue and zero menace to him. He simply doesn’t look like he can prove to be a match for his rival Luc, thus he shambles around doing very little while obligatory cameos from Danny Trejo and Dennis Hopper keep audiences attentions. The movie becomes terribly convoluted as Luc and his four horsemen look to transcend death by sacrificing a virgin to satan which will give them powers. But not if Jimmy has anything to do about it. By this time I was pretty much just zoning out and could care less what anyone here did. Suffice it to say it was a struggle sitting through it and I can’t believe this glorified fan fiction written by three people was ever made in to an actual movie with recognizable faces. It’s juvenile, dull, and just a practice in sadism on the audience. I would criticize the production values, but there’s nothing here that stands out as stellar or terrible, it’s just middling. There’s no mood, no tone, no appeal, and zero energy to it.
Mungia just goes through the motions here providing a potentially excellent premise with little to no pay off. Every bit of production here seems to be aware that it’s low budget, thus Mungia never strives for anything visionary and creative and instead just seems to want to move the film along as fast he can while the three (Three!) screenwriters devise a hackneyed narrative that should and could be quite compelling but just isn’t. As for the four horsemen concept, it’s all so utterly ridiculous mainly because rather than letting the audience discover who and what they are and what they signify, Mungia and the writers (three of them) freeze on the introductions of the characters and plaster a profile and their stats like the video game. It’s such an on the nose exploration of these characters that signifies a sheer lack of effort on the writers (three!) who don’t have enough creativity to let us get to know everyone.
The romance between Jimmy and Lily meanwhile is so fleeting and brief that there’s simply no impact when she’s killed in front of Jimmy’s eyes. It’s a few kissing scenes, some lame dialogue and a Romeo & Juliet twist where Jimmy, the ex-con, is the town outcast while Lily finds something in him no one else can even defying her father (Danny Trejo at his all time worst) who warns her to dump him at every turn. Then if that’s not enough Lily is looked upon as a deity of a sorts singing in front of a crowd and recites the opening lines of the original 1994 film. How she managed to mutter the exact same lines Sarah did is just mind-blowing and simultaneously ludicrous.
“Wicked Prayer” has been roasted on Rotten Tomatoes with a general consensus that the film is a total failure on every conceivable level, and I have to concur with the majority on this. Every inch of this movie wreaks of laziness, sloppiness, and too many cooks in the kitchen, not to mention it’s grossly miscast with unsympathetic and uninteresting characters. I commend you if you can sit through the entire fiasco without wanting to commit hari kari.
The less said about “The Crow: Stairway to Heaven,” the better. Okay? I’ve seen it before, let’s move on.
What is down the road for “The Crow”? Well O’Barr still dabbles in conventions and paints the crow on auctions, and Dimension definitely has plans to reboot the entire series and hopefully will do something different. There is a plethora of ideas out there for the creative minded who can take O’Barr’s idea and expand on it. Set the story in the medieval times, focus on a woman or a black man for once, change up the face paint, dabble with the perception of revenge and redemption. Avoid the pitfalls of being compared to Lee’s original film but also pay respect. Go for moody and melodic without being reduced to gothic clichés, and most importantly give this concept the respect it deserves. Let some young star be they man, woman, black, white, or Hispanic flourish in their performance and allow them to carve out their own niche. Create original interesting characters and you can definitely get something truly incredible out of it.
“The Crow” film series isn’t cursed by the death of a young rising star, it’s cursed by the one dimensional thinking of the studio that brought the creation to life, a studio afraid to try something new and would rather tap the well Brandon and Alex Proyas laid out in the mid nineties. They’d rather harp on his death instead of moving on and creating a new legacy. They want the same old success story Brandon brought to the table when they could be making something brand new and equally successful.
“The Crow” is still one of my favorite movies of all time, Brandon Lee is still one of my favorite action heroes of all time, and I think even when I’m in my eighties, my life will still revolve around the boy and his bird, because there will never be anything like it out there ever again.
Here’s to you, Brandon. Rest in Peace.