The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)
The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)

Genre: Action and Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.

Release Date: June 4th, 2005 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Lance Mungia Actors: Edward Furlong, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Tara Reid, David Boreanaz, Danny Trejo, Dennis Hopper

 


 

T

he heavily-polluted Lake Ravasu sits on the border of the Raven Aztec Reservation, which is closing the nearby toxic mine to make way for a casino. The miners are at their breaking point, but it’s an uprising led by satanic cult leader Luc Crash, aka “Death” (David Boreanaz), and his vengeful, anarchic minions Pestilence (Yuji Okumoto), War (Marcus Chong), and Famine (Tito Ortiz) that really raise hell. The community is at odds, some supporting the building of a resort and others demanding that mining jobs stay consistent, leading to all sorts of societal confusion.

Somewhere in the mix is Jimmy Cuervo (Edward Furlong) and his girlfriend Lily (Emmanuelle Chriqui), who come from opposite sides of the road, bringing much despair to their friends and associates. But their differences are soon to be moot when Crash and his girlfriend Lola Byrne (Tara Reid) break into Lilly’s trading post workplace, capture the two lovers, and hang them. Death, however, is only the beginning, as a bizarre ritual ensures that Cuervo’s soul returns with the help of a mystical crow to right the wrongs of such a sinister injustice.

It’s immediately a bad sign when Tara Reid headlines a motion picture. And sure enough, her first lines of dialogue are so unconvincingly delivered that it would seem as if she isn’t aware she’s in a movie. The filmmakers are clearly cognizant of her failures in the acting department, going so far as to shift away from her face when she speaks, allowing her off-screen voice to narrate. It hardly matters, as the script is majorly deficient in both sensibility and creativity; the otherworldly elements are bland enough and ambiguous enough that just about anything can happen and not feel out of place – or interesting.

That haphazard construction (full of fickle, shoddy editing) and the pitiful conversations don’t help the sincerity of the violence, which boasts such brutal concepts as cutting out eyeballs and tearing out hearts – without showing much at all (likewise, the action sequences are butchered, unsuccessfully, to work around the fact that no one can actually fight). Similarly perplexing are the various relationships, routinely told through disorganized flashbacks and jittery editing. Even tremendously unimportant subplots are given backstories that couldn’t seem less significant. Additionally, the story is riddled with biblical references and other motivations that are as nonsensical and unexplained as Cuervo painting his face white with black eyeliner and dressing in torn leather (which looks silly here as opposed to uncanny, as when Brandon Lee donned the costume in the 1994 picture). “Are you an angel?”

The visuals and basic premise are based on the comic book series by James O’Barr (this fourth feature-length adaptation is inspired by a specific novel with the same title), which lends to the gothic makeup and styling, as well as the themes of revenge and salvation, but this latest chapter can’t find anything new to say. Apparently, every time the crow resurrects an unfairly murdered fellow, the exact same things take place – including catching up with various henchmen for reprisals, having the metaphysical black bird undergo temporary injuries that affect its human counterpart, villains engaging in sadomasochistic activities, and plenty of sulking. Here, it’s all so dull, poorly executed, and laughably stupid (the climax grows almost incomprehensibly moronic, as if intentionally mocking itself), only intermittently resembling an actual film. Even the normally amusing minor roles by Danny Trejo and a tongue-in-cheek Dennis Hopper can’t save this abomination from being essentially unwatchable. “Kiss the bride, motherf*cker!”

– Mike Massie

  • 1/10