Friday, May 2, 2014

A Ghoul Versus The Prophecy: Forsaken

"Let's put the Prophecy franchise to bed with the fifth and final review in my retrospective!"

Geez, who the hell knows? ANOTHER prophecy has been made that God will write ANOTHER chapter of Revelations in a book called the Lexicon that will give whoever holds it the advantage in... I guess the Second War of Angels?

Belial, one of Satan's ex-cronies, is after the Lexicon so he can create a new Hell... which will make him more powerful than everyone else. Yeah, I don't know. The more I think about it the less sense it makes.  But like always, Satan saves the day and entrusts the Lexicon to Kari Wuhrer, who continues the franchise's proud tradition of featuring heroes of RAPIDLY declining quality. Oh, and she's also barely helped through her journey by the ghost of the angel Simon from the first movie. Ghost of an angel... I think that might be the dumbest idea in the supernatural genre.

Get for the EPIC CONCLUSION of the Prophecy saga with A Ghoul Versus The Prophecy: Forsaken! Also, why did they quit numbering these damn things?

Our film opens with recycled footage from the first movie of the Father doing whatever the hell he was doing to make God's Word appear in the unwritten chapter of the Lexicon. This is too much for him as he dies of a heart attack and they STILL don't explain this. Was God working through him? If so, WHY? These are important questions, writer of the movie!  I'm not even sure what the point of that was, probably to pad out the movie's run time because this bad boy is SHORT even for Straight to Video. We cut to a little girl playing ball on the streets of Bucharest, Romania where our story takes place. Her ball rolls into traffic as she looks over and sees Satan watching her, but she doesn't even FLINCH. Wow, how bad of a place is Bucharest to live where seeing the Prince of Lies doesn't even merit a reaction?

He walks over to her and starts conversing in Romanian. They don't bother to subtitle their conversation so we have no idea what they're saying. The little girl starts walking into heavy traffic after her ball, as we cut to Kari Wuhrer watching her from a balcony across the street. She's STILL in Romania? Even after the last film when Satan told her it wasn't over and more angels would come for her, she just... stayed where she'd be easy to find?  Things end badly for the girl as- you'll NEVER believe this- gets hit by a car just in case you were confused what movie franchise you were watching here.

Kari runs down and talks to the girl in Romanian. Hey director, remember us? The audience? We'd like to know what's going on!  As Kari, leaves she bumps into an ominous looking man played by Jason Scott Lee who is most famous for portraying Bruce Lee in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Actually, he's ONLY famous for portraying Bruce Lee. His IMDB page is one depressing read. Lee stares at her as if to say: “Why is SHE the hero of this movie?”.  We learn Lee is playing a hitman named Dylan, who is working for a Seraphim Angel named Stark who is played by the GOD of B-level horror movies Tony Todd. And just like that this movie is unbelievably awesome!

Stark wants Dylan to kill Kari, as he doesn't want to get his own hands dirty doing it. However Dylan doesn't want to do this, so he tries to turn the tables by killing himself. No, don't do it! Just hang on for two more years and you'll get to be in Balls of Fury with Christopher Walken!  This suicide is in vain, as Stark is easily able to bring him back to life and tells Dylan he WILL do as he's told. Dylan, proving he's not stupid, listens to him because the surgeon general warns not listening to Tony Todd WILL result in your horrific death.

Dylan bursts into Kari's apartment and points a freaking assault rifle at her. His acting is... not good. He reads every line like he's reading it for the first time and doesn't understand the context of it at all. But anyway, he finds he can't kill her as he gets a feeling she's “different”. She tells him she's been entrusted with something very important so he takes her for a ride in his car to hide her. He tells her about Stark but doesn't know what side Stark is working for.

Stark enters Kari's apartment to look for the Lexicon as it seems Dylan has failed him. He finds the book hidden in the wall, but in a strange scene finds the pages have been replaced by phone sex ads. Huh?! I watched this over and over again trying to figure out if there's a joke or a reference here. All in vain.  Kari and Dylan face off to see who can act worse, a battle where the loser is US. They arrive at the apartment of a hooker Dylan frequents, where she's already with a client au naturale. Kari's reaction to seeing them makes me think she got mixed up and thought this was a comedy movie.

Dylan takes a bunch of stuff from the hooker like a wig and toiletries. In a change of pace, the dialogue in this scene is almost impossible to understand not because of their accents, but BECAUSE THE SOUNDTRACK GOT CRANKED TO 11 AND DROWNS EVERYTHING ELSE OUT.  Leaving the apartment, Dylan notices a bunch of men in trenchcoats around. Kari tells him they're just gypsies, but he says they're [inaudible]. Ah good, we're back to the actors mumbling.  A brief chase scene breaking out, Kari asking why Dylan doesn't just shoot them. He say it's pointless because even if he can land the killshot more will come. She asks what the killshot is and he replies right between their eyes, which is their Third Eye.

Why would Stark have taught him this? Has Dylan been killing angels for him? Why? And why wouldn't he just shoot Stark if he knows how to kill angels?  Hmm, it's kind of late in the series to hope for any answers isn't it? Because angels hunt by taste and smell, he has Kari douse herself in perfume and take iron pills which will change the taste of her blood. He also has her put on the wig because thrones- Oh, thrones! That's what he was mumbling earlier. He tells us they're just grunts too dumb to tell humans apart. Dylan has Kari take off while he tries to hold the thrones back. This tremendously backfires as they kick ass his and take him back to Stark.

Kari is able to waltz right past the thrones after she passes their smell and lick test. Eww. I am NOT reviewing any movies with licking in them any time soon.  She takes a taxi back to Satan's house from the previous movie, this time paying the cabbie to wait for her because walking home last time must have really sucked.  She has a little chat with Satan where he reveals in a few hours the Lexicon will name the Antichrist and ohhh dear. The Antichrist? We're throwing the Antichrist in here now?

Remember way back when in the first movie when they said the final chapter of Revelations foretold of a dark soul on Earth that would win the war for whomever got it first? But this was later changed that a child would be born of an angel and a human that'd bring peace to both sides of the war? But then was later changed AGAIN to the child would stop the coming on an angel would would replace God? But then was changed AGAIN AGAIN to the final chapter would contain all the information for a side to win the war?  Now it's the Antichrist, so forget ALL of that. The Book of Revelation is going to have more chapters than a Dan Brown novel by the time all is said and done.

Satan tells Kari having this knowledge makes her the courier for the biggest weapon of mass destruction ever.  He goes on to say the factions in Heaven are concerned about this, but are bound by rules regarding murder. They can bypass these by using assassins like Dylan. I... I really don't know anymore. They're just contradicting EVERYTHING right and left at this point. Gabriel and Zophael were rebels, so logically they wouldn't have been bound by these rules. Stark is also a rebel, so why is he?  As Kari mulls this over, Satan sits down and pulls out a Twinkie. It's sad when the devil has to make ends meet shilling for Hostess.

She tells her how much he loves them, and she asks maybe it's because of the angel food cake? What?! Twinkies aren't angel food cake, they're sponge cake! I can buy completely betraying everything in the franchise, but I'm not going to stand for this dammit! You went too far Prophecy: Forsaken, YOU WENT TOO FAR!  Alright, enough of that. Kari and Satan prattle on for awhile longer and it goes nowhere, so Kari leaves just in time to see her taxi taking off. What is WITH cabbies in Romania?  Kari starts walking in what I begrudgingly admit is a great shot. This is a pretty film, visually.

Thrones start appearing and following her. She takes off running, coming across a funeral procession which matches the one she saw in the vision Satan gave her at the end of Uprising. Ohhh, and the body isn't hers but the little girl at the beginning of the movie. The vision in the last movie made it seem like it was going to be Kari's, so that's a nice little fakeout.  She's able to blend into the funeral march because the thrones are too stupid to recognize her by sight. Oh snap, is Kari an Assassin? That would actually explain a LOT.

We get a flashback to when Kari was by the little girl's side, and the little girl is now speaking in English, telling Kari she has a message for her. Okay, and that message is...?  I guess it wasn't important because we cut back to Stark and Dylan. Dylan asks why the angel just doesn't go kill her and learns because she's at the church they can't harm her there. Which is one of the few moments this movie remains consistent with something from the earlier films. Stark says if Dylan chickens out again to lead her off the holy grounds and they'll take care of it themselves.

Kari sits in the church wondering how she can get out of this movie without them noticing, because her audition for General Hospital is in a few hours and she really needs to get ready.  She hears a voice saying it's cold, and turns around to find herself facing... Samara?! Now you're REALLY screwed Kari. Wait, no it's just the little girl again. The girl says, and I'm quoting here: “I died for you Allison so you could use my funeral to escape them”. You know, I'm getting a LITTLE tired of these movies where a character is able to predict every single little detail down to PERFECT timing.

SO. If Satan is able to see the future is SUCH detail that he'd know every single event that would happen from the girl's death to Kari running into her funeral, why aren't the angels after him instead of the stupid Lexicon? The angels have no problem taking on God, how's messing with Satan going to be any different?  The little girl tells Kari she was to wait in the cold ground because “the bad angels don't want us in Heaven”. I think this as confirmation that the stalemate from the first movie is still going on and all human souls are trapped on Earth, which really makes the prophecies from the second and third movies seem utterly pointless now.

The little girl leaves to see if anyone is interested in making The Ring 4, her parting words for Kari to not give up the book no matter what. Dylan enters the church around this time and Kari is suspicious of him, as she should be. But she still trusts him enough to launch into her life story, which is so boring he goes outside to check things out. We can see thrones are amassing outside.  Dylan says they have to leave now as there will be hundreds my morning. He goes to start his car, telling her to come running when she hears the engine. Is Dylan playing her or not? My guess is yes, because this really isn't the kind of franchise with noble heroes.

Kari rushes to the car but the passenger side door is locked and Dylan refuses to look at her. Called it! The thrones take her back to her apartment where Stark is waiting for her. He says all he wants is the last page of the Lexicon because in three hours it's going to reveal the name of the Antichrist. I'd ask HOW we knows this, but it's Tony Todd so that's all the answer I need. If Todd had orchestrated that ridiculous “making a little girl kill herself to provide a funeral march for Kari to hide in” plan, I'd TOTALLY buy it.

Stark wants to kill the child because he thinks Armageddon is a bad idea. Kari won't give him any information, so he... lets her go? But just earlier he told Dylan he was going to kill her, which makes sense because at one point he says it's easier to extract information from dead bodies than live ones.  But I'm sure he knows what he's doing. Kari runs into Satan at the park, and once again Satan realizes the screenwriter has no way to progress the story so he does Exposition Duty again. Satan is really helpful like that. He asks if she got his message from the girl, and the response makes me CRINGE.

Kari says he didn't have to kill her with all the emotion and caring as if he'd stepped on an ant. I mean come on, Satan let an innocent girl die so Kari could play Assassin's Creed. She should be PISSED about that!  But they don't care so I'm wasting my time. Satan tells her Stark's plan is to prevent Armageddon so the humans that survive it can't go to Heaven to receive God's love. He'd rather the human race stays alive so they'll keep degrading themselves in the eyes of the Lord, while the Angels remain his Chosen Ones.

That's a fine plan, because it continues the tradition of Gabriel in the first movie wanting angels to remain over humans. What I don't get about it, and this is a recurring question I have throughout the series, is what is God doing during all of this? He has to know one of His angels is trying to totally betray His plans, especially since Stark ISN'T a rebel so they'd like be in close contact since seraphims are one of the highest in the angel hierarchy. I really could rant about this all day though, as it really is the biggest plot hole in all the movies. God is just so ill defined and usually ends up being a deus ex machina when the writer has run out of ideas.

Kari asks what's Satan's stake in all of this, learning he wants Armageddon to happen so he can collect all the souls of all the people who don't go to Heaven. This all makes sense, I'm liking this a lot.  Unfortunately, this comes to a crashing halt as we get the weirdest scene in probably the entire franchise and possibly a pick for top twenty WTF scenes of ALL TIME. Kari walks by a crazy looking guy man, who yammers something at her in Romanian. She goes “huh?”, he looks at her and hisses “Angel!” then pulls out a knife and STABS HER IN THE STOMACH AND SHOULDER!

WHO THE FUCK IS THIS GUY?! Kari falls to the ground when suddenly Simon's ghost appears over her (and he looks NOTHING like Simon, they seriously couldn't find a homeless looking guy with a beard in all of Romania to play him?) and tells her she's not through yet and it's time to fight back. So Kari gets up, kicks the shit out of the guy, and SNAPS HIS GODDAMN NECK like she's Solid Frickin' Snake! You know the icing on this cake of sheer insanity? IT'S NEVER MENTIONED OR ADDRESSED AGAIN!  Seriously, who the fuck was that guy?!

That drug induced hallucination over, Kari returns to the movie and sees Tony and Dylan breaking into a house near the park. Earlier, Tony had Dylan study Kari's daily routine and realized she came to the park everyday. He was able to deduce she kept the Lexicon's pages somewhere around there. When he found out the house had been deserted for a year, he figured that had to be the place.

She sneaks into the basement of the house, taking the pages out of a wine barrel. She's just in time to catch them reveal the name of the Antichrist, Mykael who will have four distinct marks on his face. The pages write themselves? What was the Father doing then in the last movie? It clearly showed the words appearing AFTER he was speaking. Ah whatever though, this movie has left the world of sense LOOOOOOOOOOONG behind after what we just saw.

Upstairs Stark smells Kari, smashing through the floor to try to capture her. She takes off upstairs, getting a decent head start on him. He follows her, finding she's dropped a bunch of the pages all over the stairs to stall him as he has to stop and check every single page to make sure it's not the Antichrist one. Gotta give it to her, that's DAMN CLEVER.  This would have worked on anyone else, but we are dealing with Tony Todd here. He sees through this and confronts her on the roof, Dylan right behind. Now I want you to think here, what's the stupidest way to resolve this face off you could possibly think of?

Satan saving the day again? Nah, that's been done to death.

Dylan breaking out the killshot on Stark? That's not stupid, that actually makes sense.

A crazy guy appears out of nowhere and stabs Stark? Sure, why not?

What's that? Have Stark reveal Kari is half angel? Damn, why are you sitting here reading this when you should be finishing the script to Children of the Corn 10?

Yeah, Kari's a Nephilim. Hold on, hold on there. SIMON is her father. Um... either ghosts can have kids or Simon did this when he was still alive, which is the more likely option. I don't even want to think of how this fits into the previous movie with her “parents”, but that's just because the writer didn't want to either.  At least this does led to one of my questions getting answered, Stark taught Dylan about killshots so he could kill Kari. Nice, why couldn't they have applied this logic to everything else in the movie? And if you're wondering, Stark thinks heart ripping is too messy, which is why it's not on the table. Plus they already did that in the last movie.  HAW HAW!

We do the sequence where Dylan keeps switching his gun sights between Kari and Stark, unable to decide who to shoot. Finally he shoots Kari, but not in her head, rather multiple rounds to her chest. This sends her flying off the roof, the pages in her hands getting scattered to the wind and blown everywhere as Stark screams in rage.

Kari lands on a wall, just like we saw in her vision in the last movie. This is also quite similar to Gabriel falling on the fence in the Prophecy II, for those who've been paying attention. She comes to, seeing Simon smiling down on her from a nearby balcony. She sadly doesn't scream up at him: “Yeah, that doesn't make up for you haunting me my entire life and making me think I'm crazy, asshole!”

Across town, a small boy catches one of the pages falling from the sky. If you don't know what happens next, I'm not sure movies are your thing but I still appreciate you reading.  Of course it's the Antichrist page, and of course his name is Mykael Paun with four marks on his face. His mother calls him as he runs to her and... wait, it's over?!

Cue the credits?!?

That was certainly abrupt. I guess Stark and Dylan weren't that to important in the movie, so we don't need any kind of resolution for them. Or Kari for that matter, she was only THE STAR OF THIS FREAKING THING!  This movie reminds me of Julianne Moore's The Forgotten, something I'll absolutely be reviewing someday. Without giving any spoilers, both films start off interesting enough and then completely and utterly fall apart harder than a Ford Pinto in a 1970s police movie.  Seriously what happened at the end here? You can't even call it an end, it literally just stops. The bad guys are still on top of the house and Kari is lying vulnerable on a fence. They must have worn themselves out throwing insane plot twists at us and then said “Screw it, I'm exhausted. CUT!”

For its truckload of flaws, the Prophecy 3 ended on a great note and sent the franchise into the sunset with style. This movie dug up its corpse, dressed it up in goofy outfits, and paraded it around Weekend At Bernie's style.  And yet, this film was still better than the last one, at least marginally. Somehow, despite what happens in the last few minutes, it's a much better story that kept my attention through the entire thing. Tony Todd delivers an A+ performance like he always does, we need to clone this man because totally understanding horror and thrillers and how to approach them is coded into his DNA.  If you're not a fan of the Prophecy movies, I'd say stay far away especially since you'd have to watch the last one to even attempt to make sense of this. If you are a fan, I'd still say stay away but you won't because you're vested in this series already and have to see what happens next.

Like the Saw, Paranormal Activity, or even the classic Jason and Freddy movies odds are if you've made it to the third one you'll keep watching no matter how bad they are. At that point it's not even about the movie anymore as much as it going to see them for fan service or the series trademark gimmicks. You go to see what wacky trap Jigsaw has rigged up or what kind of overkill Jason has planned for his latest naked woman victim.  I think out of everything, this is where the last two movies failed the hardest. There is so little fan service in these.

It was so cool in the Prophecy 3 to see Mary all grown up or Madge from the diner talking to Gabriel about Rachel. It was a largely terrible movie but those moments were great and I'll always remember them over whatever the story was supposed to be about. These last two movies had brief nods to Joseph, Simon, and some of the angels' methods, but it was all VERY weak. Hell, the only car collision in this movie was off camera! That's a sin!

The first movie came out in 1995, and the last two movies came out on its tenth anniversary. Next year will mark it's twentieth anniversary, and sadly I can find no plans to do anything to honour this. Even after these last two movies, I'd love to see more because, hey, I'm vested. It's likely if they ever did another one it'd likely be a dreaded Hollywood “reboot”, but personally I'd make another sequel and try to give this once great series some desperately needed closure.

The Prophecy: Revelations. Yes, it's one of THE MOST OVERUSED subtitles in all of movies but here it actually makes sense. I would combine the two storylines in an all cards on the table battle for everything in the form of Danyael Jr. vs. Mykael, winner take all.  I'd have Gabriel and Stark on Danyael's side and Belial's on Mykael's. Why Belial? Since Satan wants Armageddon to happen, he'd release him from Hell to aid Mykael. However Stark would be the ultimate bad guy, as (spoilers for a movie that doesn't exist and will never happen!) after they defeat Mykael he turns on everyone.  Whoops, this review turned into fanfiction again. I hate it when that happens.

And with that, we bid a pretty fond farewell for the Prophecy saga. I hope you had as much fun reading these as I did reviewing them. I really enjoyed doing an entire series back to back to back and will definitely be doing more of these.