The Crow Reviews
Saw this on 12/10/15
It's violent energy is appreciable change for an American superhero film, Brandon Lee gives a good performance and the film has some well shot scenes, but it's mostly unbearable to look at due to the horrible cinematography and choppy editing. The stunt choreography is better than the rest of these stuffs, but you just can't see any fucking thing clearly.
Rooted deeply in an 80's vein of revenge-driven stories like the Dead Pool and Death Wish, this now 22-year-old film depicts a dark and dreary early 1990's and it does so very well. Yes, almost 25 years later it's dated. But not in such a way that it demands a re-make. This kind of film should stay in its own timeframe.
Of course the premise of this whole story is kind of ridiculous. It states that sometimes, just sometimes, a crow transporting a dead person's soul to the land of the dead will bring that person back to life, for vengeance's sake. For a rational cookie monster like me, that is hard to wrap my little head around.
The problem of this movie is not in the acting or the story, however. It's just that the thing is so damn sad and leaves you wishing that you had seen something more cheery.
Eric Craven (Brandon Lee) comes back from the dead to avenge his own and his fiancee's death. They were killed a year earlier at the hands of a gang of street thugs. Like the 80's movies mentioned earlier, he picks off his enemies one by one, all the while keeping an emotional connection to a street girl named Sarah (Rochelle Davis) and a weird kind of friendship with Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson).
When this movie starts, you know how it's going to end: not well. The production matches the mood of the story here: it's dark, dreary and ever so gloomy. I don't know what to recommend, to be honest. Don't watch it when you're happy, it will bring you down. Also don't watch it when you're depressed, it will only kick you down further.
Brandon Lee, son of legendary Martial Artist and actor Bruce Lee, was cast in the lead role, and sadly, this would be the last film he ever made as he died from an accident that happened near the end of filming (inexperienced crew members loaded a real life bullet in a prop gun, which was what ultimately took Brandon's life). The few remaining scenes were completed using stunt doubles, and visual effects with leftover footage of Brandon inserted. The story behind Brandon's tragic death also helped attract moviegoers, and fans of the actor to see him one more time in film.
The Crow proved very successful, both critically and financially, and became the first successful R rated comic book movie, paving the way for similar dark comic book movies such as Sin City, and The Dark Knight.
There is a myth that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the realm of the dead, but sometimes, because of an event so traumatizing, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right. On October 30, Devil's Night, guitarist Eric Draven (played by Brandon Lee), and his fiancee Shelly Webster (played by Sofia Shinas) are murdered by a vicious gang of criminals. One year passes, and a mystical crow brings Eric back to life as an undead avenger to take out the ones who murdered both him, and Shelly.
I was already a huge fan of Bruce Lee, and was starting to get into his son Brandon Lee. Technically, the first movie I saw starring him was Showdown in Little Tokyo, but I was too young to remember. This was the movie that re-introduced me to Brandon, however, because I was too young, I didn't see the film until age 11, and when I did, I loved the movie, and to this day, it's one of my favorite movies of all-time.
The plot is very unique, and often has a strong sense of irony to it (seeing that in the movie, Brandon, whose life was ended during the making of the film, as mentioned before, is playing a man who dies, and ends up returning from the dead). Brandon Lee delivers an excellent performance as Eric Draven, he brings the tormented side of the character to life while offering a twisted sense of humor prior to sending off his murderers. The rest of the cast is also great, you have Ernie Hudson playing Albarecht, an officer who becomes an ally of Eric, and Michael Wincott as Top Dollar; the main villain, and the mastermind who orchestrated the murders of Eric and Shelly.
It's also noteworthy to talk about the visual design of the movie. The look is dark, and gives a very bleak and depressing atmosphere to the film, which works perfectly, unlike some modern comic book movies which try way too hard to be serious and realistic.
To add toppings to this wonderful film, the action scenes are well done, and the soundtrack rocks (one of the best movie soundtracks I have listened to, personally).
Because of the success of this movie, it was followed by 3 shitty, and unnecessary sequels, and a spin-off TV series starring Mark Dacascos as Eric Draven. There are plans to remake this movie too, however, this movie didn't need to spawn a franchise as I feel that not only was this a perfect movie, but also because it was pretty conclusive (I won't spoil the ending as I highly recommend this movie). Regardless of the unwanted franchise, this movie will always remain as one of the greatest comic book movies I have seen.