Picks and Pans Review: A Prayer for the Dying

updated 10/05/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/05/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

There seem to be a number of movies going on here, and none of them is Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Mickey (Angel Heart) Rourke, looking like death warmed over on a low setting, plays an Irish Republican Army terrorist who has seen one killing too many. Alan Bates, as a London mob boss who wants Rourke to make one last hit, is all leers and sneers. Bob (Mona Lisa) Hoskins, as a priest with a shady background, has one horrendously melodramatic scene, not to mention a blind and lovable niece, Sammi (Mona Lisa) Davis, for Rourke to fall in love with. When Hoskins witnesses Rourke rubbing out Bates's enemy, the milling around breaks loose—this is a small movie that seems to want to appear much larger. There's pointless graphic violence. Only Irish actors Liam Nee-son and Alison Doody, who play IRA enforcers, seem to know their own purpose. It isn't surprising that director Mike (Flash Gordon) Hodges has asked that his name be removed from the credits. Hodges claims that the movie's backer, the Samuel Goldwyn Company, edited the film beyond recognition. Rourke, meanwhile, has called making the film "a nightmare" and said it makes his character into an "Irish Rambo." To which Samuel Goldwyn Jr. replied, "Mickey Rourke doesn't know what he's talking about." Whoa. Let's forget the movie altogether and wait for the videotape of the controversy. (R)

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