The Series Project: The Prophecy (Part 1)
The Prophecy II (dir. Greg Spence, 1998)
This was a straight-to-video sequel, and the low budget shows. Indeed, a lot of the cooler shots (of eyeless angels screaming to the Heavens, of Lucifer shattering into a murder or crows) were taken wholesale from the first film. Watching the two films back-to-back will reveal all the cracks in their embarrassingly shabby detail.
The premise is largely the same, but The Prophecy II suffers from the classical sequel syndrome of over-familiarity. That is: the filmmakers and the audience know the premise so well, that no mystery can be connected to the events any longer, and the details are sped through without pomp or circumstance. Like when Chucky can shunt his soul into dolls more and more easily. Or when xenomorphs can impregnate people, hatch out, and grow to full size in about fifteen minutes. The Prophecy II, then, doesn't bother to re-establish any mystery. The filmmakers just cruise quickly through all the stuff that made the original cool. It's established that angels die when you rip out their hearts. In this film, three angels get their hearts ripped out in one scene. Too much, man. Too much.
In a prologue, we see Lucifer releasing Gabriel (Christopher Walken) out of Hell on some sort of half-uttered notion that he's not welcome there anymore. Gabriel climbs out of Hell in a parking lot, covered in mud, nonplussed and ready for business.
Meanwhile, a pretty young nurse named Valerie (Jennifer Beals) begins having chance encounters with a handsome Chinese bloke named Danyael (Russell Wong). Danyael is, of course, yet another angel (he has the appropriate neck tattoo), and has been romancing her under the pretense of impregnating her. Danyael wants to make a nephilim – a half-angel-half-human hybrid – to shore up their numbers. Nephilim used to be common in the old, old days; human women are just that irresistible.
Gabriel, meanwhile, seems to know about yet another obscure prophecy about the nephilim, and goes on a quest to kill Valerie. He enlists the help of a suicidal teen (Brittany Murphy) who drives for him. Gabriel needs slaves you see, because he knows little about human's technical acumen, and cannot operate cars or computers. This is actually a cute idea, and I like the scenes of Walken standing in front of a computer in utter frustration.
The conceits in The Prophecy II are kind of dumb, though. We have a story about angels trying to do away with a half-angel hybrid, but it's all about driving around town, smashing cars through walls, and investigating dry cleaning tickets. There's no cloud of evil or horror over this film. It only took one film, but The Prophecy series already became a pretty rote action thriller.
The film's climax takes place at the original cite of the Garden of Eden, which is now a large industrial factory. Eden is overseen by the benevolent Michael (Eric Roberts), and still contains the Tree of Knowledge. Nothing is really made of the Eden setting, though, other than to comment that Eden is now just another part of Earth that most people tend to ignore. There's something theologically profound in that statement, but The Prophecy II doesn't do anything with it.
At the end of the film, God doesn't let Gabriel into Heaven, but does bless him by transforming him into a human. One of the last shots of the film is Gabriel stooped on a streetcorner, homeless, playing his trumpet. At least the film ends on a note of divine humility. I wish more of it had been the least bit interesting.
You may notice that the cast is still impressive, though. Elias Koteas is gone, and in his place (in a brief intro) is an actor named Bruce Abbott. Steve Hytner reprises his role from the first film. There is also an angel in the film named Samayel played by erstwhile Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig. The scene he's in, though, features the three hearts mentioned above. I'm not sure if “Samayel” is intended to refer to Danzig's band Samhain.
Next week, we'll fall even further down the straight-to-video rabbit hole with The Prophecy 3: The Ascent, The Prophecy: Uprising, and The Prophecy: Forsaken. I prophesize that you will return for next week's installment of The Series Project.
Witney Seibold is a featured contributor on the CraveOnline Film Channel, co-host of The B-Movies Podcast and co-star of The Trailer Hitch. You can read his weekly articles B-Movies Extended, Free Film School and The Series Project, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind. If you want to buy him a gift (and I know you do), you can visit his Amazon Wish List.