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Dark Angels (1998) review
Dark Angels (1998) movie poster - The four horsemen of the Apocalypse and two male superheroes in silhouette
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Black woman holding a drink while relaxing on blue couch - a pet rat sitting on a piano cleans himself

Angela is a pregnant woman trapped in an abusive marriage.

 

Amidst a world filled with sex, drugs, money, and power, violence is an ever-present threat. Set on the mean streets of Atlanta, the expectant mother discovers that only spiritual awareness and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse can help her escape the madness. 

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Dark Angels cemented its place in cinematic history as the first Hard Faith movie. It was followed by notable additions to the genre, including Shooting Heroin (2020), written and directed by Spencer T. Folmar, and The Affair (2023), directed by Dennis L. Reed II.

 

Elisha Maldonado of the New York Post describes the relevance of Hard Faith movies in this way:

 

"Faith is hard. Sometimes faith is messy. And the beauty of our redemption story is that God meets us in our brokenness and in our frailty and in our sweariness. It's his humanity. If we, as humans, can't meet our fellow humans in our shared mess, what are we doing? And if a hot damn or a good old f-bomb moves us closer to meeting others where they are, I swear, it's worth it."

Black woman in red dress next to two male superheroes in silhouette - Dark Angels - Full Movie Free on YouTube
Dark Angels official trailer on YouTube - Black woman holding a drink while relaxing on blue couch - a pet rat sitting on a piano cleans himself
Dark Angels (1998) movie trailer #2 - Latina dancer wearing shorts and halter top next to two male superheroes in silhouette
Dark Angels (1998) movie trailer #3 - Mixed black and latina dancer tight black shiny dress next to two male superheroes in silhouette
Dark Angels (1998) movie trailer #4 - Smiling pregnant black woman rubbing her belly in front of open laptop next to two male superheroes in silhouette

David Wadley (The Price Bandit) offers online tools to increase black homeownership utilizing a nationwide listing of foreclosed homes. Wadley also created Black Film School, where real estate agents, filmmakers, and digital creators can find FREE instructional videos, presented by movie industry experts, to assist them with writing, producing, directing, editing, distributing, and marketing professional projects for a global audience.

 

Wadley produces and edits YouTube videos showcasing R&B slow jams and old school remixes as The Price Bandit. Throughout the YouTube Black Voices Fund initiative (2020-2023), he created hundreds of music videos and started the hashtag #RealEstateRnB.

 

Wadley has worked for Warner Bros. Studios, Sony Pictures, MGM Studios and is a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700. He was the Supervising Sound Editor on Soul Plane (2004) and a Production Assistant on the Hollywood sets of movies produced by Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Robert De Niro, and Melvin Van Peebles.

Wadley was acknowledged with "Special Thanks" in the closing credits of The Invisible War (2012). Two days after watching this Academy Award-nominated documentary, former CIA Director and U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon E. Panetta, directed military commanders to hand over all sexual assault investigations to a higher-ranking colonel and announced that each branch of the United States Armed Forces would establish a Special Victims Unit.

Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Black woman shooting a gun
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Black girl in casket as man approaches her to grieve
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Black ganster wipes hands on white towel while standing and listening to his employee
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Black gangster in black coat and black hat shooting a tommy gun
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Hitman shooting a gun while holding a napkin to hide fingerprints
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Two superheroes wearing masks and black outfits walk down elegant hallway
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - A.J. Johnson - black man looking serious
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - black man with pet rat sitting on his shoulder
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - man on fire jumping out of window
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - black gangster placing cigar in ash tray with two beautiful black women sitting and standing in the background
Dark Angels (1998) - martial artist in white superhero costume does handstand kick on his opponent
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - black woman wearing a blond wig holds smoking gun that has just been fired
Dark Angels (1998) - Clops on fire (fron
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse sit on their horses in a dark setting
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - A.J. Johnson - black man holding two handguns with one of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse sitting on a horse behind him
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - One of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse stands holding a sword in each hand
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - black ministor in white gown holds a black woman's forehead as he bends her backwards to baptise her in church
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - black woman seen walking through church window

"What David has done with Dark Angels is the most difficult path to take because he's done it all himself from scratch. Not only did he write the script and develop the characters, he's [secured] the financing, directed it, [etc.] To do something like that and pull it off takes tremendous tenacity."

Preston L. Holmes, Producer
Till, Girls Trip, Panther, Hustle & Flow, Malcolm X, Juice, New Jack City

The Atlanta Tribune

Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Young latina woman covering herself with a bedsheet as she gets out of bed. The silhouette of two male superheroes is seen on the wall behind her.
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Black gangster / hero loads tommy gun
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - Black woman in gold dress lighting a cigarette while sitting at a hotel bar
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - A.J. Johnson - black man and latino man in medical gowns working on a person
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - a car exploding in mid air at night
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - two superheroes wearing black costumes and black masks walk together through hotel ballroom
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - martial artist superhero jumps off top of stairs to administer a flying kung fu kick to his opponent
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - One of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse hold a sword while standing over a kneeling black man
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - smiling black man holding a beer wearing a T-shirt and stands in front of a well-dressed black woman in a bedroom
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - black superhero wearing a black hat and black scarf across his lower face
Dark Angels (1998) movie still - two black superheroes wearing black costumes and black masks standing in a hotel ballroom
Dark Angels (1998) movie review
Dark Angels (1998) movie poster - The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse sit on their horses in a dark setting
Dark Angels (1998) movie poster - montage of colorful action photos from the movie Dark Angels
Dark Angels (1998) movie poster - church windows in dark ominous church

Je Nie Fleming (ACRIMONY, LAW & ORDER) portrays Angela. Throughout Angela's dream sequences, character names hint at the story's subtext, influenced by the Crusades of the Middle Ages. Charlemagne, whose foreign conquests and internal reforms helped define Western Europe between 760 and 813, has been redeveloped as an African American funeral director, Charles Maine, portrayed by veteran Baltimore stage actor Louis B. Murray. (HOMICIDE, HOUSE OF CARDS).

Dark Angels (1998) movie poster - white woman pulling her shirt open like a superhero with a long red cape fling in the wind behind her

Maine operates a family-owned funeral home in a modern-day inner-city neighborhood. His able assistant and sidekick, Rodrigo Bivar, is played by Roberto Gutierrez. While casting DARK ANGELS, Wadley discovered Gutierrez in 1992 when he was a 19-year-old kung fu student at a New York martial arts school. Inspired by his experience working on his first feature film, Gutierrez later became one of Hollywood's top stunt coordinators/stuntmen (BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, HALLOWEEN KILLS, THE SUICIDE SQUAD, THOR: THE DARK WORLD, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL).

In DARK ANGELS, Gutierrez is a martial artist extraordinaire whose character is named after Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar - El Cid, the military general who altered European military history between 1087 and 1099. The names of Angela and Demond (angel and demon) and other characters' names, such as Grace, Pope, Saxon, Lombard, and Tassilo, add to the film's Crusades-related theme. In the opening of Angela's dream segments, Maine has had enough of the senseless drug-related violence that has plagued his neighborhood for far too long. 

Angela's dreams culminate with the wrath of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation, who provide a terrifying climax during the film's final moments. Inside the world of DARK ANGELS, there are no decisive winners in a war between judgmental heroes and ambitious villains. The only true superhero is God.

To better understand Dark Angels (1998), one must consider the times as they were when it was created.

Sheila Frazier (SUPER FLY, THREE THE HARD WAY) read David Wadley's first screenplay, which he wrote as a Morehouse College freshman in a screenwriting course. Frazier and Wadley met in Los Angeles at Richard Pryor's Indigo Productions on the Columbia Pictures studio lot when Wadley was 19 years old. Pryor had appointed NFL legend, Jim Brown, as the president of the film production company that hired Frazier as a story editor.

Wadley disguised himself as a flower delivery man to sneak onto the historic studio lot undetected. Frazier was so impressed with his ingenuity and the box of red roses Wadley gave her, which were used to conceal the script from the studio's security guards, that she stopped what she was doing to sit down and read the entire screenplay. Frazier then invited Wadley into her office and gave him pointers on his script while encouraging him to pursue his career goal of becoming a filmmaker. The screenplay she read that day would later become DARK ANGELS.

Wadley further developed the screenplay for DARK ANGELS between 1984-1990 while residing in his Harlem apartment on 147th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic. This turbulent period in New York history saw Paul Castellano, the American crime boss who succeeded Carlo Gambino as head of the Gambino crime family, assassinated in an unsanctioned hit led by John Gotti on December 16, 1985, outside of Sparks Steak House on East 46th Street. Gotti, going against his predecessors firm rule of staying out of the cocaine business, opened up the New York mafia to cocaine trafficking, a 41 billion dollar business with routes leading from Mexico to Detroit and Columbia to Miami.

Wadley interned with Congressman Charles Rangel representing Harlem's 13th district as Ronald Reagan sat in the White House, hiring over 1000 additional FBI agents in his first term to investigate mafia activity centered in New York City, assisted by then New York Governor Mario Cuomo and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rudy Giuliani. At the same time, a Brooklyn minister named Al Sharpton was introduced to the American public as he protested against the Bernhard Goetz subway shootings and racial attacks in Howard Beach and Bensonhurst. Jesse Jackson ran for President of the United States in 1984 and 1988, introducing American voters to the idea of electing a black chief executive to lead the nation.

Civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson, and filmmaker, David Wadley

Jesse Jackson and David Wadley

The introduction of crack raised the stakes in gang activity, and by the mid-1980s, the drug world's murder rate increased by over 50%. This sparked a new migration of Crips and Bloods spreading out over the entire country in search of new markets outside South Central, Los Angeles. Ice-T, influenced by Philadelphia rapper Schoolly D's "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" released in 1985, pioneered a hip hop sub-genre that became known as gangster rap.

Wadley received death threats from a New York drug dealer who was murdered at the close of the decade. Though their interactions were usually disagreeable, Wadley gave the deceased dealer's chosen specialty (robbing rival drug dealers) to the antihero/protagonist when he wrote the screenplay for DARK ANGELS.

Shot entirely in Atlanta on a limited budget in the 1990s, DARK ANGELS was completed over a period of five years, thanks to the perseverance of over 150 dedicated crew members and actors working for little or no salary.

Wadley encouraged numerous Atlanta business owners and managers to donate their facilities for set locations, staging areas, and post-production services. The stark reality of Atlanta's gritty streets is captured on 35mm black and white film, juxtaposed against the warmer scenes of Angela's dreams photographed on a vibrant color stock by veteran cinematographer Edwin Myers (ROBOCOP 3, INVASION U.S.A.). This effective storytelling technique was inspired by the MGM classic THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). In THE WIZARD OF OZ, actors play dual roles in the film's real-world (black and white) and dream world (color) segments.

The surreal setting of the film is augmented by the haunting classical orchestral soundtrack created by composer Damon Stout, who conducted a 65-piece orchestra for his original composition, "Theme from Dark Angels." The film also benefited from the editing talents of Kevin Lindstrom (WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, BOOMERANG, THE KARATE KID III, DEEP COVER, THE FIVE HEARTBEATS) and the detailed artistry of costume designer Donna O'Neal (THOR: RAGNAROK, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III, 8 MILE, PLANET OF THE APES).

DARK ANGELS was released and distributed in the United States by Maverick Entertainment in 1998. The film's spiritual theme also translated well to the international film market, opening DARK ANGELS up to distribution in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America.

Dark Angels (1998) movie still - A.J. Johnson - black man looking serious

A.J. "Ezal" Johnson 

Anthony (A.J.) Johnson (February 1, 1966 – September 6, 2021) died at a Los Angeles County hospital after being found unresponsive in a store. He was an American actor and comedian best known for his role as Ezal in the feature film FRIDAY. 

According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner, Johnson died from "chronic ethanol use," or alcohol abuse. The autopsy report showed Johnson was going through a multi-system organ failure and that he had tested positive for COVID-19. The case detail report also notes there were no other causes of death, and the manner of death is listed as "natural."

Johnson co-starred in Wadley's DARK ANGELS. Johnson and Wadley first worked together on PANTHER (1995), featuring Kadeem Hardison, Bokeem Woodbine, Angela Bassett, Chris Rock and others. PANTHER was produced by Preston L. Holmes, Robert De Niro and black cinema pioneer Melvin Van Peebles, who died two weeks after Johnson.

Once PANTHER wrapped, Johnson and Wadley were offered positions on Ice Cube's upcoming Los Angeles project, FRIDAY, which Johnson accepted. Wadley took an alternative offer to work on a film produced by Steven Spielberg scheduled to shoot in New York simultaneously. Even though Johnson and Wadley did not work together on FRIDAY, they reunited several years later on
DARK ANGELS.

_________________

OneManGang 2 days ago
Yo how do I find this whole movie been 👀 for over 25 years

The Price Bandit 1 day ago
I will post the entire movie on Saturday, September 25, 2021...Remastered with many new sound effects and other technological updates...thank you for your interest - David.

OneManGang 1 day ago
@The Price Bandit
…brooo thank you.. it's like nobody knows about this movie…but I had some buddies growing up we used to watch it and it was wild..but had this deep message…i really appreciate because I have been racking my brain lol like what's the name..then when we decided on the name we could never find it..bless up!! Thanks alot

OneManGang 2 hours ago
Whoooooa…sir I'm humbled..after reading through I have found you are the genius behind this movie…I want to be direct when I say this you hit your target head on!!! I'm a 44 year black male at the time this movie came out my partners and I who were living on the wrong side of the tracks would sit over and over and watch the movie with all its hidden meanings and it stuck with us..the most important thing that I could remember was how the choices we make in every day life have spiritual consequences..and you depicted that so well… I've never seen a movie that took a urban setting of everyday life and show the line between the physical and the spiritual world..without actual forcing the point but simply showing that line…for the mind ready to receive…so I officially want to say thank you for your work of art…salute to you and I pray the creator blesses everything you touch! Thank you

The Price Bandit 1 minute ago
@OneManGang

I am truly grateful for your sincere sentiments regarding how Dark Angels inspired you and your friends to reconsider certain life choices. The film's production spanned five years, thanks to the perseverance of over 150 dedicated crew members and actors who worked for little or no salary. Numerous Atlanta business owners and company managers also donated their facilities to use because they respected the spiritual mission that all of us had undertaken. You shared that Dark Angels revealed to you, "The choices we make in everyday life have spiritual consequences." I speak on behalf of everyone involved with Dark Angels when I say to you, "Thank you, brother - mission accomplished."

Dark Angels (1998) movie poster - two superheroes silhouetted against a window in a dark room

Dark Angels | 25th Anniversary

RERELEASE PREMIERE

Amazon Prime Video

May 16, 2023

 

DISTRIBUTOR

Filmhub | Santa Monica, CA

CJ Olivieri, Head of Acquisitions

Liam Lischak, Acquisitions Manager

Digital Transfer | March 30, 2023

FotoKem | Burbank, CA

Jay Espinal Jr., Tape Operator

Rich Wilson, Tape Operator

Greg HenigmanSVP - Video Operations and New Media

Steve HernandezAccount Manager

Ilya Coleman, Credit Collections Specialist

Sound Effects and Dialogue Enhancement

David Wadley, Supervising Sound Editor

Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG), IATSE Local 700

______________

Hollywood Premiere: May 2, 1996
Directors Guild of America, DGA Theater Complex
7920 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046


Feature Length - 90 minutes

Writer, Producer, and Director - David Wadley
Cinematography - Edwin Myers
Editing - Kevin Lindstrom
Original Music - Damon Stout
Costume Design - Donna O'Neal
Casting - Barbara Clark

CAST

Je Nie Fleming - Angela Bogart
Louis B. Murray - Charles Maine

Aklam - Demond Bogart
Roberto Gutierrez - Rodrigo Bivar

Patrick Parker - Captain Tassilo

John Burton, Jr. - Pastor Garvin

A.J. Johnson - Pope
Cheryl Reeves - Desiree Lombard

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