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Dimension Films presents
The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)

"He found himself in mystic places."
- Jimmy Cuervo (Edward Furlong)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: July 20, 2005

Stars: Edward Furlong, Tara Reid, David Boreanaz, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Dennis Hopper
Other Stars: Marcus Chong, Tito Ortiz, Rena Owen, Danny Trejo, Macy Gray
Director: Lance Mungia

MPAA Rating: R for (violence and language throughout, some sexual and drug content)
Run Time: 01h:39m:08s
Release Date: July 19, 2005
UPC: 786936288865
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D D-A-B+ C

DVD Review

It looks like The Crow series is trying to march down the same dark, sad path as the Hellraiser films. The series that made Brandon Lee a legend (thanks to his on-set accidental death) is apparently trying to catch up to the umpteenth Pinhead installment, as The Crow: Wicked Prayer marks film number four in the series. The first sequel, The Crow: City of Angels was a valiant effort to keep the quality high, and at least received a theatrical release. The third film, The Crow: Salvation, featured a pre-Spider-Man Kirsten Dunst, but was pretty bad and went direct-to-video in 2000.

Now, we have the joy of watching Brandon Lee's original character embodied by the one, the only, Edward Furlong. Yep, we're talking about none other than T2's young John Connor himself, now playing yet another lost soul who was killed and has risen from the dead to exact vengeance for his murder. The crazy (and I do mean crazy) casting doesn't stop there. We also see Angel, David Boreanaz, playing the film's heavy, Luc, and everyone's favorite buzz kill, Tara Reid as his girlfriend, Lola. As with every movie she even makes a brief appearance, Tara Reid completely cripples this already injured film. She is more wooden than ever, which will be impossible to believe for those who saw her "act" in Alone in the Dark.

So, now we're about an hour into The Crow: Wicked Prayer, and we've had to deal with the likes of the aforementioned Surreal Life-caliber cast. Nothing, and I mean nothing can prepare you for the next two actors that grace us with their presence: Dennis Hopper, and singer Macy Gray. We'll get Ms. Gray out of the way before focusing on just how bad Mr. Hopper is. Macy Gray plays Hopper's girlfriend, and she is the most uncomfortable, out-of-her-element, singer-turned-actress I've ever seen. She even appears to be drunk, struggling to complete the few sentences she is responsible for.

I'm a huge Dennis Hopper fan, from his early days in Easy Rider and Apocalypse Now, to his unforgettable turn in Blue Velvet, and even his surprisingly great work in Land of the Dead. In The Crow: Wicked Prayer, Dennis Hopper gives the single worst performance of his career. He is always over the top, but that is part of his charm and the reason he continues to work. If Hopper gave this performance in a campy film like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, even then it would be an acting debacle. Yeah, the lines he's given as the satanic priest named El Nino are deplorable, but he did choose to deliver those lines, and he's bound to lose some of his many fans' respect for this.

The basic storyline follows Luc (Boreanaz) who uses the events surrounding the closing of a toxic waste plant to change himself into Satan. Luc is aided by Lola (Reid), as well as other "disciples" who will stop at nothing to help him reach his goal. Meanwhile, Jimmy (no relation to Jose) Cuervo (Furlong) has a checkered past, having served time in prison. He and his Native American girlfriend, Lily (Emmanuelle Chriqui), are madly in love, but when they come in contact with Luc and the gang, they are quickly murdered. Jimmy comes back to life with the help of a crow, and is out for bloody revenge.

The rest of the plot is arbitrary, as it not only doesn't make any sense, but fledgling director Lance Mungia, doesn't ever aid us in caring about the story. He could have added just a slight bit of flair, and at least hinted at some sort of vision that he may have had for the project. Instead, like Hopper and the rest of the people behind The Crow: Wicked Prayer, Mungia is out to make a quick buck and add a genre film with a familiar title to his resume.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is surprisingly strong, complete with amazingly clear, detailed images that are consistently sharp. This is a very dark film in tone, and solid, deep blacks help the director at least appear to have a visual plan for the picture. There is some grain and dirt, but not much, and what there is never becomes a distraction.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The only audio track is a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is also a pleasant surprise. The pathetic dialogue is easy to hear, but that might not be a good thing in this case. The surrounds burst to life during the action-packed sequences, with the few explosions benefiting from a nice bass presence.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Sin City, Hostage, Cursed, Dracula III: Legacy, Hellraiser: Hellworld, The Prophecy: Uprising
2 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
3 Featurette(s)
Storyboard
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Director Lance Mungia, producer Jeff Most2. Director Lance Mungia, cinematographer Kurt Brabbee, film editor Dean Holland, sound designer Steven Avila
Packaging: Keep Case
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Galleries - Collection of still photos from the film.
Extras Review: This surprisingly healthy collection of extras includes two feature-length audio commentaries. The first has director Lance Mungia and producer Jeff Most talking about the making of the film, but delivering the most pathetic commentary track I've ever heard. The majority of the time is spent pointing out the obvious, from the use of stuntmen in obviously dangerous scenes, to the functionality of the opening credits. Avoid this track at all costs.

The second option is slightly better, but this is probably due to the participation of more people who are able to override Mungia's nonsense. This is a bit more of a technical discussion, not surprising with the cinematographer, editor, and sound designer on board.

The Making of The Crow: Wicked Prayer is a half-hour documentary serving as a comprehensive study of the making of the film. We get the standard on-set footage, clips from the film, and cast and crew interviews to guide us through this production.

El Pinto is a waste of time devoted to the crew talking about why there are certain types of cars in the movie.

Black Moth Bar Storyboards is a four-and-a-half-minute, standard collection of early sketches of scenes from The Crow: Wicked Prayer.

Another brief segment is up next, this time called Margaritas and Conversation. This segment is more fluff about the making of the film, and is set apart from the rest of the supplements by the appearance of Most and Mungia drinking and smoking cigars.

A pair of Deleted Scenes have been included, neither of which would have improved the finished film, which isn't much of a surprise.

Jamie's Attic is three minutes with composer Jamie Christopherson, who specializes in playing the harmonica.

There's also a collection of trailers for other Dimension Home Video releases and a pair of still Galleries that feature stills from the production.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

The hands-down winner of the weirdest cast of the decade, The Crow: Wicked Prayer has taken what was a great first film in the series, and run the idea into the ground. This direct-to-video disgrace has a boring visual style, but the DVD does boast above average audio and video presentations, and far more extra features than it deserves.

 


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