Having never seen any of the other movies based on the character of The Crow, I came into The Crow - Wicked Prayer with high expectations. I consider Edward Furlong to be a solid actor, I respect David Boreanaz for his work in the movie Valentine and I am actually one of those people that doesn’t think ill of Tara Reid. Add to this that Danny Trejo and Dennis Hopper were also in the cast and I figured that this movie would rise above merely being a sequel.
Ohhhhh, how wrong, I was...
With quick cutting, a fractured narrative, scenes happening and then being explained much later in flashbacks, I honestly think that The Crow - Wicked Prayer borders on incoherence. Here is the plot, as I understand it. Edward Furlong plays Jimmy Cuervo, an ex-con who killed a Native American and while in the joint, fell in with the likes of Luc Crash (David Boreanaz) and his crew of thugs. Years later, I guess, Crash and a bunch of other social misfits, lost their families in a mining accident having to do with excavation for a new Casino in their small Native American town. Now they have become Satanists and Crash kills Furlong and his girlfriend Lily so they can complete a satanic ritual in which Crash will become immortal... in fact I think he may even become Satan. Well, Furlong rises from the dead to avenge his and Lily’s death and that is where the main thrust of the action unfolds.
I know this is a “B-movie”, I know the budget was low, I know that Dimension has released this movie to pad the bottom line... but isn’t this film following in The Crow’s footsteps? Isn’t there something of a legacy here? I just spent so much of this movie being confused, wondering why the actors were saying what they saying and wondering why they were doing what they were doing. I did my best to stay with this film, to believe that it would get better then it was.
Sadly, all this movie is is just the 4th film in the library of The Crow movies. A copy of a copy... and for those who have seen Multiplicity, you know that can’t be a good thing.
Deleted Scenes and Storyboards
These are a collection of extra scenes that for one reason or another were left out of the stew that is this film. There are only 2 here. They are titled “The Gathering Center” and “Rick E. Ravens”. They also have a commentary over them explaining why they weren’t in the final product. The storyboards show us the fight scene at the “Black Moth Bar” and mixed in with that is the storyboards from that scene. I think this was done in really cool way because the storyboards are actually part of the scene, as opposed to running concurrently on another part of the screen.
Making of The Crow - Wicked Prayer, El Pinto and Jamie’s Attic
These are behind the scenes featurettes that look at the various parts that went into making this movie. The “Making Of” Featurette is basically an overall look at what went into getting this movie made. The “El Pinto” featurette focuses on the different cars that were used in the film and “Jamie’s Attic” is all about recording the soundtrack. I am so baffled with this movie because it really seems like a caring hand went into making it, and when you watch the finished film it seems like much of that was left in the editing room.
Commentary Track and Margaritas and Conversation
The commentary tracks can be heard over the movie by Director Lance Mungia and Producer Jeff Most. One can also view the film with a commentary track by the director, cinematographer Kurt Brabbee, Film editor Dean Holland and Sound Designer Steve Avila. The “Margaritas and Conversation” featurette has Mungia and Jeff Most talking about the film. I found all of the commentary tracks (and chatting about the movie) to be very solid and informative. Again, I was surprised that so much could go into making a movie and yet that movie could turn out so bad. Maybe this film ended up exactly how the creators wanted it to, I just found that for my viewing tastes it really missed the mark.
Widescreen (1.85:1) - Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions. This movie looks good. The colors and the lighting are almost pristine. Yet, the way they have edited this movie it is beyond hard to follow. I kept waiting for something to happen. For an event to unfold that would really illuminate things for me. Yet, the longer the movie went on, the more the scenes unfolded, the more confused I became. It really seems that by the end of this movie, things look right, they sound right, the battle you have been waiting for is happening at the right time... yet it all just seems not right. The action scenes are cut in such a way that we can’t tell what is going on. It isn’t that Furlong isn’t a good actor, it’s just that I don’t think he is an action star which is precisely what this movie called for. I know that the people making this film probably wanted to shake things a up a bit, but as a result I think they ended up hurting their movie.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. My favorite part of this movie is the soundtrack. Despite how out of hand this movie gets with the story and with the visuals, I found that the sound was always where it needed to be. Maybe this is why I was able to sit through this movie and not be completely turned off? I just found that the sound kept this movie grounded. Granted, the dialogue the characters were delivering eventually went off into the absurd, at least I was able to hear this so that I knew I was in fact hearing what I was hearing. Maybe this is some “campy” thing and I just wasn’t in on the joke? Another point about the sound was how leveled it stayed once I put the DVD on. I didn’t need to adjust my volume controls at all, so at the very least, the people handling the mix on the DVD got that right.
The cover looked promising enough. You have Reid, Boreanaz and Furlong all looking their parts. There are crows flying around in the background with an apocalyptic red seeming to bleed into all the images. The back features a fire background, pictures from the movie, a description (that is really too short) and a special features listing. I guess, I should have known that this movie was only going to be a cursory part of the Crow family. When you get to the 4th installment of a particular film, it seems that by that time things have reached the fantastical. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but I just really hoped this film would be better then it was.
Dennis Hopper used to be the hottest director/actor in the US. Yes, you read that correctly. In 1969, he wrote and starred in the classic American tale Easy Rider. This film was a whirlwind. A box office bonanza and a cultural phenomenon. It really let the studios know how out of touch they were with what the American public wanted to see. So how in the world do you get from that point in your career to here? How do you go from being in Rebel Without A Cause to being a guy spewing rap phrases in The Crow - Wicked Prayer?
Sorry Lance, Jeff and the rest of the people who were behind the making of this movie. I hate saying such bad things about a film when I know how much work went into getting it made. As I have said, I might be off the mark in my assessment of this movie but I really think that I’m not. Still, with as much passion as it seems Mungia and Co. have, I am sure they will be back with something better.
The Crow: Wicked Prayer was released May 13, 2005.