the world of direct-to-video genre films, Joel Soisson is one prolific bastard.
(No offense, Joel, that's actually a compliment.) Aside from the two latest DTV
"Prophecy" films (parts 4 and 5, to be exact), Soisson is credited as
either a producer or writer on films in the "Dracula
2000" franchise, the "Highlander"
franchise, the "Mimic"
franchise, and the "Hellraiser"
franchise (having also written the recent "Hellraiser:
Deader"). Apparently not having to indulge in human needs such as
sleep, eat, or watch endless hours of sports on TV, Soisson even found time to
produce the two "Trekkies"
documentaries. Joel Soisson, thy name is prolific!
It will probably never be known which was made
first, the two "Prophecy" Soisson-directed sequels, the two
"Hellraiser" Rick Bota-directed sequels, or the "Dracula
2000" Patrick Lussier-directed sequel, as all five films seem to
have been shot at the same time, in or around the same locations, and
employing more or less the same cast. It's the type of ambitious
efficiency you simply have to admire, even if the idea of shooting all
five films with what amounts to a round robin of resources may seem just
a tad dubious. Then again, the first in the Rick Bota-directed
"Hellraiser" sequels ("Deader") came out quite good,
so maybe Soisson and company knows what they're doing after all.
"The Prophecy: Uprising" stars current
Neo Art and Logic (the company responsible for all those franchises
mentioned above) poster girl Kari Wuhrer as Allison, a mentally
unbalanced American living in Bucharest, who comes into possession of
the Lexicon, a mysterious (and celestial in origin) book that is,
literally, still being written about the fate of man. The book holds
many other secrets, which is why a bunch of angels -- some good, others
not so much -- are after poor Allison. Meanwhile, a somewhat crooked cop
(he robs from drug dealers, but gives to the church) played by Sean
Soldiers") and a mysterious Interpol agent chasing a serial
killer becomes involved in Allison's quest to save mankind.
If the "Prophecy" films have told us
anything, it's that angels are, for the most part, total pricks. Whether
they are the good guys or the bad guys, or somewhere in-between, these
winged fellows, with their propensity for deep stares, long black
trenchcoats, and rooftop perching, are all pretty much unlikable jerks
who cares about mankind only enough to use us in their cosmic games of
war and peace. The best example of this is Christopher Walken, the star
of the first three "Prophecy" films, who appeared first as a
villain intent on destroying man, then as the franchise's de facto
anti-hero. Alas, Walken has departed the "Prophecy" franchise,
leaving it without a big name star. Kari Wuhrer, although a B-movie
star, is no Christopher Walken.
My memories of the previous three
"Prophecy" films are somewhat vague (the original showed up in
1995, the sequel 3 years later, and part 3 graced Blockbuster video
shelves across the heartland more than 5 years ago), so you'll have to
forgive me if the details are a bit blurry. The original was never a big
hit, although these days being a marginal hit is enough reason to spawn
a franchise. And despite having Walken's name attached, the first two
sequels never reached theaters. If memory serves, Gabriel was determined
to destroy Heaven and God for various reasons, only to fail each time.
By the end of "The Prophecy 3" the war between Heaven and Hell
was supposed to be over.
Apparently not. It seems there are forces of darkness
even darker than Satan himself that wants the Lexicon to create their
own, all-new version of hell. One wonders what type of place could ever
outdo hell, as that seems overly ambitious, even for those prickish
angels. Throughout the film we hear the voice of Jason London, here
playing (or is that voicing?) an angel name Simon, who shows up as some
kind of streams of yellow light to prod Allison to act by further
contributing to her mental imbalance. Nice guy, this Simon. And Jason
Scott Lee, although credited in the IMDB.com listing for the film,
actually never appears, although he's supposed to be in the next one.
Bradley, sans pins in the face, plays a Romanian cop name Laurel, one
half of, one presumes, a Laurel and Hardy combo. The tall and skinny guy
(Bradley) and fat guy duo is supposed to provide comic relief, although
curiously the film's most successful stab at buddy humor comes from
Pertwee and his Interpol agent/angel in disguise partner Riegert (John
Light), the latter possessing that impersonal quality all angels in the
franchise seem to share. Unfortunately Pertwee must have only signed on
for one installment, because there are no indications he's returning for
the next sequel.
As a set-up for "The Prophecy: Forsaken" (the
fifth in the franchise, which was shot back-to-back with part 4),
"Uprising" isn't really a bad movie, although if judged as a
standalone film, it's very short and incomplete. The film has its
moments, and while its talk of Heaven and Hell and angels are lost to
me, a non-Church going, bible-reading person, the script did seem to
know what it was talking about. (Of course the operative word here is
"seem".) The bottom line when it comes to "Uprising"
and its upcoming second part is this: If you're a genre fan, and can't
resist a movie despite the presence of a roman numeral next to the
title, then there's plenty about "Uprising" to like. If
nothing else, Sean Pertwee is a hoot.