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The Crow: Wicked Prayer DVD Review

The Crow: Wicked Prayer

December 1, 2005

Director: Lance Mungia,
Starring: Starring: Edward Furlong, Tara Reid, David Boreanaz, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Dennis Hopper, Marcus Chong, Tito Ortiz, Rena Owen, Danny Trejo, Macy Gray, Rosemberg Salgado, Yuji Okumoto, ,

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DVD Review

The Crow franchise has gotten progressively worse since its first installment back in 1994. So much so that this latest effort has gone directly to video despite the presence of name stars like Edward Furlong, Tara Reid and Dennis Hopper. The template for these movies is fairly well-known by now: two young lovers are unfairly killed by a gang of nasty bad guys. The mystical spirit of The Crow resurrects the man who dons a lot of black clothing and exacts much deserved revenge on the guilty. The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005) deviates little from this tried and true premise and the results or predictable.

Trouble is brewing at a mine that is closing down in a border town in the Southwestern United States so that the locals can open their own casino and make some decent money. Luke Crash (Boreanaz) is a bad ass criminal freed from a prison chain-gang by his girlfriend (Reid). He is quickly reunited with his crew that is a part of a Satanic cult and patterns themselves after the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Jimmy Cuervo (Furlong) is an ex-con trying to make an honest go of things until he crosses paths with Crash (they were friends in prison) and his gang. They kill Jimmy and his Native American girlfriend for no particular reason except that they don’t dig interracial couples.

Edward Furlong has the acting range of an ironing board in this movie (not that it requires a helluva lot) and is miscast as an avenging spirit back from the dead. He squints and smirks his way through the first third of the movie and then sleepwalks through the rest. Tara Reid proves yet again what a one-dimensional actress she is with a truly wooden performance reminiscent of her work in Tomcats (2001). The less said about her performance the better. David Boreanaz fairs a little better as he brings the casual menace that he perfected as Angelus in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. It’s all for nothing as he’s wasted in this movie and has yet to find the proper film to exploit his specific talents.

And, ah, there’s Dennis Hopper who never met a paycheck movie he didn’t like. His dialogue sounds like it was written by Vanilla Ice and is embarrassingly awful stuff – not in a good, kitschy way. It is indicative of the rest of the movie which is plagued by clunky dialogue that is not delivered convincingly by anyone.

Lance Mungia, who was responsible for the clever cult film, Six-String Samurai (1998), rips off Robert Rodriguez as he tries desperately to revive this franchise and instead puts a potentially final nail in the coffin that no crow is ever going to resurrect. The Crow: Wicked Prayer is like a badly executed Robert Rodriguez movie, the style of which it shamelessly apes in terms of camerawork and editing.

The premise for The Crow movies has endlessly intriguing possibilities (as evident from the numerous sequels) but it is being pissed away by lousy execution of truly awful efforts like this one. This film and the other sequels have yet to find someone who has the charisma that Brandon Lee had in the first movie. Instead, we get Edward Furlong who looks like a Goth kid late for a Cure concert and not some kick-ass avenging spirit.

Special Features:

There is an audio commentary by director/co-writer Lance Mungia and producer/co-writer Jeff Most. They comment on how lucky they are (and yet it went direct-to-video – go figure) and spew forth pretentious twaddle like “dealing with mythic archetypes.” Mungia mentions that this film allowed him to work “against the grain” and yet the final product lacks originality. The two men throw around words like “unique” and “different” and contradict themselves by describing the film’s landscape as “both beautiful and ugly” which speaks volumes for why this film is such a mess.

If you’re a glutton for punishment, there is another audio commentary moderated (a.k.a. dominated) by Mungia and featuring cinematographer Kurt Brabbee, editor Dean Holland and sound designer Steven Avila. “I have no shame,” Mungia proclaims early on, which does not bode well for this track. The participants joke and tell filming anecdotes which are interesting if you like this movie but are boring otherwise.

“The Making of The Crow: Wicked Prayer” is a 30 minute featurette. Mungia wanted to make a movie about a loser who is still loved. Furlong (looking like he’s heavily medicated) talks about his role like he’s doing Shakespeare. Veteran character actor Danny Trejo gets the best (and unintentionally hilarious) line in this featurette when he describes the Crow character thusly, “When you look at him you get a really weird feeling!” Everyone spends most of the time babbling on about how the movie is all about love. Uh, right.

“El Pinto” is a brief look on the cool vehicles used in the movie and who picked which one.

“Black Moth Bar Storyboards” compares the storyboard sketches for a scene with the final product.

“Margaritas and Conversation” is for those of you who didn’t get enough pretension with the Making Of featurette. Mungia and Most kick back over cigars and reminisce about working on their movie while pontificating about its themes in a bad imitation of the IFC show, Dinner for Five.

There are two deleted scenes with commentary by Mungia who talks about why this footage was cut.

Things improve slightly with “Jamie’s Attic” which focuses on the film’s composer, Jamie Christopherson. We meet him and his wife who is also his muse and does vocals on a song for the movie.

Finally, there are galleries with production stills, several beautiful shots of settings used in the movie and behind-the-scenes pics.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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