Saturday, June 11, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'The Crow: Wicked Prayer'

I have a love/hate relationship with James O'Barr, the creator of 'The Crow'. He startd out with an amazing concept that was so simple that it beautiful in its simplicity. He eventually bastardized it for the movie version. I loved that original comic series and to this day, it still stands as one of my favorite comics ever written and a love story that I adore. Regardless of that, I still enjoyed the movie and only had one major regret.... I regret that they added the big rooftop fight scene at the end. Ugh. The original comic always came back to the fact that Eric was back because of his love of Shelly and his bloodlust to avenge her death. Here is the original plot from the comics, as taken from "The story revolves around an unfortunate young man named Eric. He and his fiancée, Shelly, are assaulted by a gang of street thugs after their car breaks down. Eric is shot in the head and is paralyzed, and can only watch as Shelly is savagely beaten and raped. They are then left for dead on the side of the road. He is resurrected by a crow (or believes himself to be) and seeks vengeance on the murderers, methodically stalking and killing them. When not on the hunt, Eric stays in the house he shared with Shelly, spending most of his time there lost in memories of her. Her absence is torture for him; he is in emotional pain, even engaging in self-mutilation by cutting himself. The Crow acts as both guide and goad for Eric, giving him information that helps him in his quest but also chastising him for dwelling on Shelly's death, seeing his pining as useless self-indulgence that distracts him from his purpose." As you can see, the movie is fairly similar, but the subsequent sequels in the comics and movies took that and kept watering it down and making the original less and less potent. 'The Crow: Wicked Prayer' pushed that to the limit and basically killed the series and some of my love for Edward Furlong. One thing that varies greatly from the original to the movies is that his vulnerability came from his vengeance being carried out, not neccesarily from the crow itself. We'll get more into detail about the good and bad of this movie in a bit.

The plot, if you can call it that of 'The Crow: Wicked Prayer' goes something like this: (taken from "Jimmy Cuervo is a down-on-his-luck ex-con living in a polluted mining town on a reservation that would run him out of town if not for the remainder of his probation. With his time nearly finished, he plans to start a new life with his girlfriend Lily , and leave the town for good. But Luc Crash and Lola Byrne head up a local gang of local Satanists who murder Jimmy and Lily in a brutally ritualistic slaying that they hope will conjure the rebirth of the Antichrist. When the legend of the Crow returns Jimmy from the dead, Jimmy heads out on a one-man path of vengeance that will lead him to El Nino, the leader of the gang that Luc and Lola are in." This sounds kind of silly, but that's exactly what this movie is.... silly. I am questioning how anyone took this seriously or kept a straight face during a lot of it. I guess the power of a paycheck go a long way, yes? You can almost see the actors counting down the number of minutes until they get paid and can go home.

Where to begin with my thoughts on this "movie"? (It is OnDemand if you want to decide for yourself what you think.) First, I have to say that one thing that varies greatly from the original to the movies is that his vulnerability came from his vengeance being carried out, not neccesarily from the crow itself. The only thing that can hurt him, is himself. However, from the first movie on.... the crow is continually found out to be his power source and it's then compromised by the villan so that our hero isn't totally indestructable for the final battle. Secondly, why Edward Furlong? This is almost the same question I asked when I saw Eric Mabius in the 3rd 'Crow' movie. I really hated him in this role. Like, when he comes back from the dead and puts his make-up on.... he uses a Sharpie to draw on the makeup. He's also too short to be threatening and looks like a reject from either a 'Crow' convention costume contest or an ex member of The Cure. Thirdly, this movie is nothing but a love fest for B-grade actors. There wasn't one big name among the list of actors, all of them have ended up on the direct to DVD circuit anymore. Fourthly (this numbering is getting stupid.... so I'm going to stop now), 'The Crow: Wicked Prayer' steals a lot from the original and the rest of the movie series, in a big way.... some parts are almost identical and some shots i think we're re-used from the previous movies as a way to save money. I'm almost sure of this. The villans in this are goofy and over the top, even more so than the one's in the original comic and movie. However, at least there.... they didn't seem cartoon-ish. For example, Tara Reid's character looks conflicted at every turn and hardly seems like the girl that would steal another girls eyes, she just looks like a reject from some other bad movie. She doesn't seem to know exactly what in the hell her character is thinking and I'm thinking that's 50% her fault and 50% the screenwriters fault. There was this whole gimmick about the villans being the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. It flat out doesn't work. One of the villans gets killed by a bug zapper.... yes, a bug zapper. Dennis Hopper plays a character named El Nino who talks like a gangsta, but a really sad, old gangsta. And the names of the two main characters: the main bad guys name, played by David Boreanaz, is Luc Crash (ala Lucifer)the main good guys name, played by Edward Furlong, is Jimmy Cuervo (spanish for Crow). Isn't that so DAMN creative?!?! Wow. That should give you an idea of what was created here. There are huge inconsistancies in this movie and things that are just flat out stupid. Like, when Jimmy and his girlfriend are killed, they're wrapped in blanket, thrown in a freezer, dumped in a quarry and the then it's lit on fire.... when he comes back from the grave, both he and his dead girlfriend have no damage. Part of the main plot goes like this, David Boreanaz's character has to get married to Tara Reid by Dennis Hopper in order to become the antichrist. Wait, it gets worse. Then we find out that they have to have sex in a holy place to complete the deal What? And finally, some western music plays and the final epic battle takes place as both hero and villan fly through the air. Wow. All of this coming from Lance Mungia, the same man who gave us the amazing film 'Six-String Samurai'. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

I've been really tempted to give this 0 stars. The only reason I didnt, was that I used to have some respect for the actors in this movie. Because of that, I gave it 1 out of 5 stars and I can honestly say that I do not recommend this movie to ANYONE. It is not good as a movie seperate from 'The Crow' franchise. It's a horrible addition to 'The Crow' franchise. It's just a crappy movie all the way around. There really isn't anything good I can say about this. At least with the 2nd and third movies there were a couple of things to compliment. With this, it was just a giant train wreck. One that I knew I would hate, but I didn't realize that I would hate it as much as I did. I'm so glad that I didn't take the time to rent it. This is yet another example of me wondering how movies like this get made. Who puts up the funding when you see how terrible this is going to be? We could use that money to make good movies. Ones that'll make a difference or at least ones that are entertaining. Hell, I'd settle for a Vin Diesel movie if it meant that we didn't have to sit through another 'Crow' movie. That's the part that kills me the most. I have such deep love and affection for the original comic series that it physically hurts me to see these sequels stray so far from what makes that original series so great. It's like re-making 'Romeo and Juliet' with Jack Black and Mya Rudolph, making it serious and having the lovers live at the end.... but end up as time traveller putting wrongs to rights with their talking dog sidekick. Does that sound good to you? If so, watch this movie. If not? Track down the original series in graphic novel form, buy it, read it and love it for the brillance that it is. God bless Brandon Lee, you did the best you could with what you had and I'm sorry that everyone has since pissed on your grave. The End? Or is it? If the people beind 'The Crow' sequels have anything to say about it.... it isn't the end.

This is 'The Crow' that I know and love.... the original one from the comic book series. (The first series, not the eventual sequels.) SIDE NOTE: Here's a great resource for info on the original story and a breakdown of everything -

Just to prove that Lance Mungia used to have a voice, a vision and talent.... here's the trailer for 'Six-String Samurai'. What a great frickin' film.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a pretty big Crow fan, and yes even I agree this 4th one was way over the top with camp. I actually liked the first 2 films and the 3rd well... it had bad editing. REALLY bad editing (did they ever really explain WHY the arm scar was done?).

    The main reason the first Crow movie was changed so much from the comic was Brandon Lee's death anyways. They were only about 3/4 of the way through filming and even shut things down for a few months before deciding to do some reshoots, body double shots, and add some new parts to the plot to fill up things that Lee hadn't had a chance to film yet. I think in retrospect they did a good job with what they had.

    There is a huge rumour mill going around now that a new Crow movie is in the works which will probably be closer to the comic. I hope they can pull it off without completely shitting on Brandon Lee's memory.

    Anyways if you haven't yet you could try the Crow TV show they did called The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. Started out kinda bad but got better as the episodes went along. Even brought in a Woman Crow who was in a couple episodes. :-)