Angels with a mean uppercut


Thursday, August 31st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


In It's a Wonderful Life, when a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. In Prophecy movies, when a bell rings, angels come out swinging.


The latest is The Prophecy 3: The Ascent, which is basically a budget Terminator 2 featuring seraphim instead of cyborgs.


The sturdy, if unremarkable, series started in 1995 when Christopher Walken first loped across the desert Southwest as the disgruntled angel Gabriel, who's spoiling for a fight with mankind.


His gripe is that God devotes all his attention to mortal "monkeys" and treats his winged lieutenants like waiters: Come hither. Go thither. Abideth.


The Prophecy 3 continues a formula of high-flying fisticuffs and car chases interrupted by discussions on the nature of good and evil and office politics in heaven. The moviemakers go to peculiar, even stupefying, lengths to explain this ontology, which involves warring factions whose methods and attitudes are anything but beatific. These angels are a far cry from the cosmic caregivers of Oprah culture. They're sour, dress in dark monochromes ­ a Prada boutique in heaven? ­ and use sense memories to hunt each other down. If an angel licks a hair, he can tell whom it belongs to. If he licks the eyeball of a corpse, he sees the last thing the dead man saw.


Gabriel, who carries a trumpet in a case wherever he goes, has mellowed out in this installment, seduced by powerful forces – donuts and women.


The new dark angel is Zouhael (brooding Vincent Spano). He's looking to kill a half-angel, half-man named Danyael (brooding Dave Buzzotta), humanity's last bulwark against an apocalyptic cult. In the usual Joseph Campbell hero's journey, Danyael slowly becomes aware of his nature and his purpose and endures many hardships, mainly getting whaled on by Zouhael. Touched By an Angel becomes Beaten to a Pulp By an Angel.


Bottom Feeder is intended as a consumer guide to what's left on the video store shelves at 10 o'clock on Friday night.


THE PROPHECY 3:


THE ASCENT


Starring Christopher Walken, Vincent Spano, Dave Buzzotta. Directed by Patrick Lusser. R. 84 min. VHS.