Gabriel is back, leading his war against heaven. This time, it’s the girl from Flash Dance that’s causing him to raise the dead, rip out hearts, and rattle off a ton of one-liners. It seems that ancient prophecy (like in the title) says that an angle will mate with a human who will give birth to a half-breed nephilim and yada yada yade. Anyway, Gabriel’s against it, so he keeps suicidal goth-teen Izzy semi-alive as his slave to help him navigate the human world, and to use DOS, as he hunts the pregnant girl and speculate on why he is so much better than the material. The extraordinarily uninteresting angel Danyael decides the thing to do is to take Valerie to see Eric Roberts, as he understands loss and failure better than any man—just look at his career.
I never would have considered Lucifer to be a big fan of sequels. I thought of him as more of a book man anyway (book devil?), but I was wrong. The Prince of Darkness must get a kickback from Dimension Films since that’s the only way to explain the beginning of The Prophecy II, an unnecessary but sometimes entertaining follow up to the innovative The Prophecy. All of the events in this film rely on Lucifer releasing Gabriel, which he does, but the only explanation I can come up with is he knew a sequel without Christopher Walken would suck.
The brilliance of The Prophecy was that it took Christianity as myth, not religion. It approached it much the same way Wagner approached the old Norse stories in his Ring of the Neblung operas: seriously, but not reverently. The Bible is simply the basis for an epic folk tale, nothing more (and nothing less as epic folk tales can be significant). The Prophecy II starts the same way, but then loses its direction. It was never going to live up to its predecessor. The ideas are no longer fresh, and some important actors are missing (Viggo Mortensen is the most glaring). But its real failing is in falling into worship. Here, perhaps because they couldn’t think of an ending, we don’t get a titanic physical or mental struggle between the leads, but instead its all turned over to God. Faith is the answer and God is the guy who makes it all work out.
There are two huge problems with the Christian faith (as faith, not as legend) in any kind of story: it is a poor worldview, and it makes for a bad plot. Good stories have the protagonists (or antagonists) doing something that resolves the conflict. But the Christian faith demands that the hero do nothing. Instead he, she, or it must simply submit to God’s will and the Big Guy in the Sky will do as he sees fit. Whatever your feelings about such a notion in reality, it makes for bad cinema.
In The Prophecy II, it is even more than usually problematic because God has been absent. Heaven is closed and the angels have been left to their own devices, and angels are neither clever enough, nor free enough, to be allowed out without a leash. But here He is, suddenly chatting to Valerie (once she sees that God is the way) and making sure that good wins out, for the moment. If God is awake and doing things, nothing in either film should have taken place. It’s the old problem of evil again, but this time without free will as an out.
Dropping theology, there’s things to like, and most of them revolve around Christopher Walken. He just repeats his shtick from the first film, but it was so much fun there that it is a joy to see it again. He’s his normal creepy self, but with a lot of humor. He stops Izzy from picking an apple in the garden of Eden, gets excited over radios, and has the one chilling speech of the film:
Let’s understand each other. I sang the first hymn when the stars were born. Not that long ago, I announced to a young woman, Mary, who it was she was expecting. On the other hand, I’ve turned rivers into blood. Kings into cripples. Cities to salt. So, I don’t think that I have to explain myself to you.
His sidekick this time around is Brittany Murphy, who is cute, smart, and up to the challenge of being in the same frame as Walken without fading away. The rest of the cast and all of the story are forgettable, although Beals doesn’t embarrass herself and has great doe eyes.
The Prophecy II does not stand alone. It has a regrettable theme and pales next to the original. But for fans of that first film who want to bask in the wonder that is Christopher Walken in his best role (although not the best performance of that role), this is worth your time. Don’t bother concentrating on it. Toss it on, and look up whenever Gabriel is onscreen.