[box cover]

Prophecy III: The Ascent

Buena Vista Home Video

Starring Christopher Walken and Vincent Spano

Directed by Patrick Lussier

Back to Review Index

Back to Quick Reviews

1995's Prophecy was a surprising film — smart, funny, and scary, it featured a terrific performance by Christopher Walken as the burnt-out and peevish angel Gabriel. With supporting performances by Elias Koteas as a Jesuit-turned-policeman who discovers the truth about the ongoing war between different factions of angels, Eric Stolze looking dapper in long hair and duster, and Viggo Mortensen as Lucifer, the film surprised at every turn and offered a fresh approach to the B-movie Apocalyptic Horror genre.

Three years later, a direct-to-video sequel limped onto the shelves. The original film's writer/director Gregory Widen was apparently busy as a beaver producing his "Highlander" TV series and so took a nice executive producer credit while abandoning his vision to director Greg Spence — whose sole previous credit was Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering. 'Nuff said.

It must have made a pile of money in video rentals, however, because there's no other conceivable reason why Prophecy 3: The Ascent exists. And the truth is, it's really not that bad. Which isn't to say it's that good, either.

The third film in the series is directed by Patrick Lussier, a veteran editor who has 15 years under his belt cutting films like Mimic, Scream Uno, Dos and Tres, Halloween H2O, and Music of the Heart. Lussier has worked for Wes Craven on a grand total of nine films and obviously picked up a lot of pointers along the way. Prophecy 3 is a solid, workmanlike low-budget horror flick with no real terror in store, but it does offer up some nifty angel-fu and it's an acceptable, if flimsy, continuation of the Angel War saga.

As for the plot: Gabriel (Walken) has fallen from Angel to man — the act of which apparently causes one to grow a hairdo like Grandma Addams — and actually enjoys living as a human ("I've even learned to drive!" he says with delight). He looks out for half angel/half human Danyael, who has apocalyptic visions and a compulsion to seek-and-destroy the genocidal angel Pyriel. God's Terminator-like foot soldier Zophael (Vincent Spano, looking exactly like the title character from the Preacher comics) is sent to stop Danyael by cutting out his heart with his ostensibly scary angel-heart-removal stick. Flying, chasing and menacing ensue. An all-too-short cameo by Brad Dourif is a highlight, as is the reappearance of Steve Hytner as Joseph, the perennially baffled coroner.

The conclusion comes far too quickly and too easily, but just watching Walken as Gabriel one more time makes this worth renting if there's nothing else in the store that looks promising. Good widescreen transfer (1.85:1), Dolby Digital 5.1. As with many Buena Vista DVDs, some users cannot skip past the promos before the feature, and apparently folks at Disney think that forcing the trailer for From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter down the viewer's throat against their will is a savvy sales technique. Believe me, it isn't.

— Dawn Taylor

Get it at Reel.com

Back to Review Index

Back to Quick Reviews

Back to Main Page

© 2000, The DVD Journal