In 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 Pertwee (“Dog 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.
Doug 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.
Joel Soisson (director) / Joel Soisson (screenplay)
CAST: Doug Bradley …. Laurel
Jason London …. Simon
John Light …. Riegert
Sean Pertwee …. Dani
Georgina Rylance …. Clara
Kari Wuhrer …. Allison