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Becomes the second best Crow sequel by default,
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This review is from: The Crow: Wicked Prayer [DVD] (DVD)
Obviously this is nowhere near as good as The Crow that we all love, it's not even close but nothing ever could and nothing ever will match up with the masterpiece that is the first and only real Crow film.
That's not to say that this film has nothing good to offer but any analysis of the film can not be done in comparsion to the original as it simply doesn't compare in quality. Therefore this is reviewed in terms of a straight to DVD B-movie. Wicked Prayer is well edited with quick flash cuts to surreal or horrific images that have happened or are still to come. Sets and locations are quite nice, bringing the Crow to the dessert with it's dusty and decaying churches and rusting trailer parks works quite well and is a nice contrast to the urban enviroments we are used to seeing The Crow in.
The cast is above average for this type of film and though some of the acting is poor none is unbelievably terrible. Boreanaz does his evil Angel thing that he's good at though he does overdo it towards the end. Furlong sadly comes across more as a teenager doing an impression of the Crow and never really fits into the role or puts his own spin on it. A surprise cameo from Dennis Hopper is fun but he's wasted in the role and Macy Gray may as well not be in the film she has such little screen time or significance. It is Tara Reid and Emmanuelle Chriqui who are probably the best performances making their pretty poorly written characters a lot more interesting than written. Special effects aren't great but are passable, it's only when they start to fly around the screen at each other that you start to cringe.
However, for a straight to DVD movie most of it's aspects are above average, sound design, lighting, OST, directing, sets and constumes are all better than I expected.
The real problems of course lie in the single most important aspect of any film no matter its budget: the script.
The story is quite messy and all over the place, they show that Furlong and Boreanaz had a relationship before he killed him but instead of developing character and motivation it is poorly done and confusing, at first I thought they might be brothers (poor use of the phrase "Bro") but then they're not and it's all very messy and unclear. It is also unclear why the girlfriend's family hate Furlong when he saved her from getting raped. These two scenes are flashbacks and I believe the problem is that they were extra scenes shot later and inserted into the film to flesh it out but they just confuse things.
Where the third Crow film (Salvation) had a mystery that was slowly uncovered running through it this is too simple, Crow comes back, hunts them down one by and one and kills them. It is all mapped out early on with no real twists or surprises and it becomes quite a slog to get through even though it's only 95mins. It would have worked better as a road movie and the film in general needs a shot of adrenaline.
Having said all that, the film is a lot better than The Crow: City of Angels which was just a poor imitation of the original with absolutly nothing new to offer. This at least tries some new things by placing the plot in the new location and bringing a dose of Southern Gothic to the franchise. The original is a masterpiece, City of Angels has almost no good points whatsoever, Salvation is the best sequal becuase it tries something different and does it well (it's trashy but well made trash) and this by default becomes the second best sequel. In conclusion, it's poor, unfocused script is from a 1 star film but some nice visuals, surreal images, costumes and locations manage to push it up to two stars.