“Marked by fate. Doomed by prophecy. Time is running out for mankind.” In the meantime, Miramax has released the Blu-ray edition of The Prophecy.
If this 1995 release has one claim to fame, it’s that it attempted to popularize the phenomenon known as “perching” nearly twenty years ago. Had we all followed the teachings of Eric Stoltz, Christopher Walken, and Viggo Mortensen back then, the act of hovering–owl-like–on furniture might be a distant memory today, much like the movie that spawned it.
It shouldn’t take the average viewer more than ten minutes to confirm this film as a train wreck. By that time, Stoltz has delivered a monologue so convoluted as to be meaningless and the second of two narrators has kicked in. That’s right. This is that rare cinematic experience where one individual telling the audience what’s happening just isn’t enough. The sad thing is, the plot here isn’t that difficult to understand. It goes a little something like this:
The angels in heaven are pissed because God gave souls to humans and now those humans are his favorite toys. In retaliation, the angels have fractured, with one side searching for a soul referred to in prophecy (hence the title) that will help them really stick it to their maker. Pretty difficult to explain, no? I’ve still got 97-and-a-half minutes left to blow some shit up.
So that’s the plot. But it’s not what the movie is about. The Prophecy is all about hair. Elias Koteas has two wigs in this movie. At the film’s beginning, he’s in the process of becoming a priest. For that, he’s got a nice little monk cut. When that occupation doesn’t work out for him, he turns to the Irishman’s backup plan which is homicide detective, where he’s allowed to let his hair down a little and chew Wrigley’s as if that action alone were enough to constitute a character.
Eric Stoltz is still sporting his Pulp Fiction ‘do and, similar to his character in that movie, remains incapable of administering the shot of adrenaline this film so desperately needs. Christopher Walken goes all Bangkok Dangerous in a fright wig so black even Ronald Reagan would have called bullshit on it. Viggo Mortensen’s Lucifer seems to have combed his shoulder-length locks and his beard with a drumstick from Popeye’s, leading us to believe he might not be trustworthy, while Virginia Madsen has to forego her standard blonde in favor of small-town schoolteacher brunette. No sexy for you, Native American school kids.
Gregory Widen, the writer/director, does have a certain visual flair, often employing shadows as a way of indirectly showing us events, however his dialogue is flat (unless Walken is providing his oddball delivery) and there’s no one to care about here. Even the little girl who is the receptacle for this badass of a soul is hindered by the costume department, who have put her in a pair of pants where the waist comes up to just below her bottom lip.
Somehow this movie spawned two direct-to-video sequels that (mercifully) were not included here, but I suppose their existence shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the fact that Widen is also responsible for creating the Highlander franchise.
Though the blacks are mostly solid, much of The Prophecy appears to have been filmed through cheesecloth. I would venture to guess that 99% of the original defects in the film have been maintained for the viewer’s enjoyment. Audio claims to be 5.1 DTS, but there’s nothing here to write home about.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
The Prophecy isn’t a proper showcase for any of the talent involved. All these people made their paychecks a long time ago. No residuals are necessary.