t goes without saying that only genre lovers need apply
for "Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled", the fourth installment in
the saga of a hard luck Djinn who can't seem to get anyone to make a third wish
so he can rule the world, or some such nonsense. With "Wishmaster 4",
the Djinn (played in costume by John Novak and out of costume by Michael Trucco)
finally gets a woman to make that elusive third wish, except the wish has a
catch and the Djinn is powerless to grant it! (I would like to re-visit the
franchise, but I'm too lazy, so I'll just point to the relevant reviews ("Wishmaster
1 and 2" and "Wishmaster
If you've read my review for the previous installment, then
you know I'm not very happy with the series. Thankfully "Wishmaster 4"
has reaffirmed my belief that this particular horror franchise is still a
worthwhile guilty pleasure. Chris Angel returns to direct "4", but
this time around the screenplay is by John Benjamin Martin, who thankfully has a
better grasp of common sense than Alex Wright, who should be stoned for taking
money to "write" part 3. It comes as no surprise that the series
creators seem to have stopped caring about the logic of how the ruby gem that
imprisons the Djinn gets around. In part 4, as was the case in part 3, the ruby
sort of just, well, shows up. Could someone please put some effort into
The Djinn's new "waker" this time around is Lisa
(Tara Spencer-Nairn), a young woman living with her crippled boyfriend Max (Jason Thompson). The couple is anxiously waiting for their lawyer Verdel
(Michael Trucco) to get some corporate lawyers to settle on a lawsuit stemming
from the accident that crippled Max. Well actually Lisa is waiting, but Max has
already given up on the money, their relationship, sex, and Lisa. Without the
use of his legs, Max is no longer capable of giving Lisa what she needs, which
is convenient since the Djinn soon takes over Verdel's body and begins to seek
Lisa's affections. Will the Djinn get Lisa to make that third wish? Will he
finally be able to unleash his fellow Djinns into the world? Better yet, will
the Djinn finally get some good ol fashion lovin'?
The answers to the above questions are: Yes sort of, No
sort of, and most definitely Yes. Without series star Andrew Divoff to play the
Djinn in human form, the series has now used the ol "inhabit a body"
gimmick to give the Djinn a new look with each installment. The Djinn this time
around is Michael Trucco, who plays the slick lawyer with the right amount of
sleaze, lust, and cunning. I would go so far as to say that should there be
another installment, the filmmakers must really consider bringing Trucco back.
I'd rather see more of Trucco as the Djinn than John Novak in that awful body
makeup because, frankly, the film slips into embarrassment territory each time
the Novak-Djinn shows up for too long.
Permanently gone from the franchise are the chills and
thrills. The series has essentially given up trying to scare us, and is now only
going for gore, sex, and cheap special effects. The gore is provided early on by
a lawyer who literally loses his tongue and then cuts off his nose, but the rest
of the film is relatively bloodless. The sex is provided by lead Tara
Spencer-Nairn in various stages of undress, including a romp with the
Trucco-Djinn on the sofa. And the cheap special effects are kept to a minimum,
and mostly consists of the other Djinns showing up in fake-looking "walls
of fire" to chastise the Djinn. For a bunch of evil demons that are
imprisoned and needs the Djinn to free them, the other Djinns sure don't show
our Djinn much respect.
There is an attempt by the filmmakers to give the Djinn
some human qualities this time around, but all of that goes out the window
because, simply put, the dialogue written for the Novak-Djinn is just horrible.
Cheesy, stilted, and just bad. On the plus side, Chris Angel's direction
seems to have improved despite the lower budget, which calls for a smaller cast
and minimum locations. The actors all do decent jobs, with Tara Spencer-Nairn
pulling off the heroine role with flair and conviction.
But once again the film really lets you down when it comes
to its heavenly connections. This time around a "hunter" is unleashed
in order to help stop the Djinn, but the actor playing the hunter looks like
he's never seen a sword before, much less play the part of an ancient warrior
that's supposed to be handy with a broadsword. It's called research, guys, look
it up. And for someone who is supposed to be a warrior of God, the hunter sure
didn't show a lot of mercy to that innocent woman whose head he just coolly
"Wishmaster 4" is better than the previous
installment, but that's not saying much. Now if only they can start putting more
thought to explain how the Djinn's ruby gem keeps getting passed around...