A while ago I was messing around with one of those silly little multiple-choice quizzes you find online, to determine how “Goth” I was… but it turned out to be some sort of scam where you had to send them your personal details, so I never got my results. Nevertheless, one of the questions stuck with me… basically it came down to choosing which of three given movies you could watch over and over again and never get sick of… and so I found myself having to choose between Legally Blonde and The Crow. The latter came out during my late teens, and I still have a lot of love for that movie… partly because it has such a gorgeous aesthetic, and such a kick-ass soundtrack, but mostly because it’s such a darkly romantic and moving story. Ultimately though, I ended up choosing Legally Blonde, because I can watch cute, fluffy comedies any time, but I really need to be in the right frame of mind to watch tear-jerking tragedies. So, I guess I fail as a Goth. :(
And speaking of faux-Goth failures, last night I watched The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005), the third psuedo-sequel to that unassailable classic. For those who don’t know, this straight-to-DVD-hell flick stars Edward Furlong (of Pecker fame) as ‘Jimmy Cuervo’, an ex-con living on the “Raven Aztec” reservation, who was imprisoned for killing a dude who was trying to rape his girlfriend… or maybe she just became his girlfriend afterwards, out of gratitude? I’m not sure. The movie’s littered with flashbacks and flashforwards, and frankly it’s a little hard to keep track when your mind’s wandering, and you’ve got one eye on the clock. Anyhoo, while he was working on the chain-gang, he became acquainted with a “Satanic Cult leader” named Luc Crash, played by David Boreanaz (of Buffy and Angel fame), who is now on the loose, and looking to involve his old chum in a ritual which could conjure up the Antichrist! Eep! Of course, if you know anything about The Crow legend, you’ll know how this goes… Baddies kill the Hero and his Lady, then the Hero gets resurrected as an avenging angel, and picks the Baddies off one-by-one. And I’m not actually opposed to them recycling that basic plot structure, so long as they add enough new elements to keep things interesting… but I do object to them making Furlong put on Goth make-up and clothing, for no apparent reason. It made sense in the original, because that’s the kind of scene the main character was into anyway… but here the justification for it is so tenuous, they really shouldn’t have bothered. I mean, it’s gonna take a hell of a lot more than some white face-paint to trick true fans into mistaking this for a worthy successor!
In fairness, I did appreciate the change of setting (from the usual shadowy city, to a rundown desert town), and the variation of villains… but that’s about all this entry has going for it. The characters kept growling one-liners at each other as if they were the most badass bon mots ever uttered… but more often than not, what they were saying didn’t actually make any sense if you thought about it. It’s kind of like in The Sims, where you can tell how a character feels from the tone and inflections of their voice, but the actual “words” they’re speaking are gibberish. And it’s a crying shame to see so many actors I admire reducing themselves to regurgitating this drivel… especially in the case of Crash’s boss, a jive-talkin’ pimp played by the late, great Dennis Hopper. Ain’t nothing easy about this ride, man. Boreanaz hams it up horrifically, revisiting the worst excesses of his ‘Angelus’ schtick… Furlong plays it far more seriously, but still isn’t especially convincing as an avenging action-man… and Danny Trejo just seems wasted as the dead girlfriend’s priestly father.
As for the female cast members… well, Tara Reid plays Crash’s Satanic bride-to-be, ‘Lola Byrne’ (I didn’t get the “joke” with their surnames until Hopper’s character spelled it out for me… “Crash and Byrne”, geddit?), but the most complimentary thing I can say about her here is that she looks fantastic… especially in her jet-black bridal outfit. I just couldn’t figure out what her character was supposed to be about… I mean, we first see her aiming a sniper rifle at some chain-gang guards, presumably with the intention of picking them off if they attempt to thwart her lover’s escape… and she happily cuts a living woman’s eyes out to use them in a ritual… but every now and then they’ll have a shot of her looking queasy and troubled by the mayhem and carnage that Crash is causing. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with a purported villain experiencing pangs of guilt, and eventually attempting to mend their ways… it just seems as if her attitude is totally arbitrary, fluctuating from one scene to the next. Is that just bad acting, or bad directing and editing? I don’t know. All I know is that she was fantastic in Josie and the Pussycats, and I’ll always think of her kindly for that… but her performance here is pretty amateurish.
Emmanuelle Chriqui fares much better as the hero’s girlfriend, although she doesn’t get quite as much screen-time since she’s killed off pretty quickly. Incidentally, her character is of Native American descent, and goes by the rather beautiful name of ‘Lily Ignites The Dawn’. Chriqui has actually appeared with Furlong before (briefly) in the far more enjoyable Detroit Rock City, playing the poodle-permed disco chick who isn’t Natasha Lyonne. Meanwhile, Hopper’s main squeeze is played by Macy Gray (of being Macy Gray fame), and it’s very weird seeing the two of them together on-screen, along with Boreanaz and Reid. You might think that a movie with that sort of stunt-casting could be fun, but you would be very, very wrong. Unless you have a very masochistic concept of what constitutes “fun”.