God`s Army aka The Prophecy (1995)
Directed by Gregory Widen
Man, that`s like 17 years ago, damn. I`m old, it`s official.
First of all, I love this film, and at least part 2 as well. Actually I like all sequels, eventhough they get less and less good after part 2. It has Chris Walken, you can never go wrong with him, in my humble opinion. Also Eric Stolz, who played some amazing roles as well.
Then, it has angels , demons, the devil and whatnot. Good and evil angels in a fight to the death.
Well, nowadays that may seem very common, but in 1995, that kind of approach was pretty new, at least as much as I remember. Now we are overfed with vampires, werewolves and angels, too. Life is faster and the media overfed with all of this.
Before I get into the plot, I wanna say that I came across this first at my local hardcore video store, the one with all the extreme stuff, a good place it was. It was a tape from maybe Denmark or Sweden, not sure which. It was titled God`s Secret Army, and the cover looked menacing and cool. And it had Chris Walken-sold. I rented it right away and loved it.
Later, don`t know how much later, must`ve been a few months at least, it came out in german video stores, with german dubbing-the official release. My special video store imported from allover, and they were very up to date with movies, always ahead of the german releases.
I am not sure about the exact timeline, but a bit later I got wind about Skid Row(the rockband) making a video for the american version, called”The Prophecy”. By then , a few months at least must`ve passed since I`ve seen God`s Secret Army. I read a bit about it in magazines and at least now I know that the american version has a slightly different cut, with improved FX and so on. The god`s army cut opened with a different scene, focusing on Koteas` character, while the Prophecy cut gives Stoltz`s character the intro sequence. I´m more used to the first one, and think it was a great way to open the film. Again, not sure about the timeline, but it felt like ages, this was already an old film to me by then. Never ceases to amaze me how films are changed and held back in certain countries.In my opinion, there should be one version, and that`s it.Maybe a director`s cut, but stop editing the movies for each continent differently. Every company is fucking with the film , the way they see fit. Annoying, to say the least. There should be a non-alteration act or something like that,lol. But money and idiocy rules in their world.
The Plot: Angels are fighting over a dark soul, which the evil side wants to use to bring down heaven. The good angels wanna hide that soul from Gabriel( Walken). A priest-turned cop gets between the frontlines of that fight and must face his own demons in the process.
Christopher Walken is great as the evil, gone rogue arch-angel Gabriel. Sniffing for souls like a dog, arguing about god and heaven, calling humans monkeys etc. He is just f´n great in this role.
Eric Stolz has a way too short role as one of the good angels, looking a lot like he did in Pulp Fiction(which was made shortly before this).
Elias Koteas as the cop and Virgina Madsen as the teacher are a bit pale in comparison, but in the end, it is all about Walken. He is the center of the movie. You forgive the weaker parts, as soon as he is back on screen.
There are a few nice gory parts in this, a good amount of action and a great, small appearance by Viggo Mortensen as the devil. The ending is not the greatest, but that also can be forgiven. The main attraction is the basic idea of it all, and Walken just steals the show. In the end, I wanted more of it, and luckily there were several sequels.
Now we have Supernatural, which developed..over time, a similar storyline. ( I enjoyed that, too)
Can the good angels and the devil keep Gabriel from fulfilling his plan? Only one way to find out!!!
I will watch part 2 soon, expect a review for that also, hell I may even do èm all. ( 5 parts so far)
Here a link to a comparison of the two cuts..sadly some of it is held in german, but its a german based site, so there you go,lol. But its shows the differences very exact, and the dialogue at least is written in english.