Movie: "The Crow"
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Alex Proyas
Writing credits: James O'Barr, David J. Schow, John Shirley
Plot: Murdered rock musician Eric Draven rises from the dead one year after he and his fiancee were murdered to exact revenge on his killers.
Review: I was a junior in high school when The Crow came out, and back then the movie wasn't quite as cheesy to me as it comes across now. Despite its flaws, despite some not-so-good acting and two-dimensional characters, part of me will always love this movie. It's true that part of the appeal is certainly the romantic mystique due to the tragedy of Brandon Lee's death, but even without that melancholy level of appreciation, The Crow is a wonderfully atmospheric, tragic, and at times, lovely story. It's not going to change anyone's life, but there are several wonderful little moments (surrounded by some embarrassing ones) that really are quite moving.
The plot is your basic revenge story--Eric Draven (who is not "The Crow"--the title refers to the bird and its symbolism alone, he's not some cape-wearing superhero with a cheesy nickname) goes around exacting vengeance on those who killed him and his fiancee, one by one. It doesn't get any simpler than that. So the script isn't exactly award-winning material (though it is better than the comic it's based on, which comes across like James O'Barr was just making it up as he went without any kind of direction or plan--which we'll forgive, since it was a cathartic way of dealing with his girlfriend's death). No, the real reason anyone watches this movie is to see the bad guys get their much deserved comeuppance, which is surprisingly satisfying given the fact that we only witness their crime in disjointed flashbacks (much of which is likely a result of Lee's untimely death during the filming of that sequence). Though perhaps the film's most enjoyable scene to watch is Draven's encounter with grumpy pawnshop owner Gideon, whose shop he visits to retrieve his fiancee's engagement ring.
The film is surprisingly well-cast for such a low-budget movie, featuring the likes of Ernie Hudson as the helpful cop who seems to accept the undead Eric a bit too readily, Michael Wincott as the crime lord Top Dollar, Bai Ling, David Patrick "Warrriorssss, come out to playeeeaaaay" Kelly as the leader of the gang of thugs who are Draven's targets, Tony "Candyman" Todd as Top Dollar's muscle, and Jon Polito as Gideon. I've seen most of these actors give better performances elsewhere, and though you never quite forget that they're acting in this film, they still seem to fit into their roles rather well. And of course, Brandon Lee himself showed a fair amount of acting potential--some of his emotional notes fall a little flat, but he exhibited a lot of promise for improvement. I particularly enjoy seeing the look on his face change from terror to boredom when he turns his back after being shot in the hand by Funboy. If he had lived, I think he would have developed into quite a decent actor.
And of course, no review of this movie is complete without mentioning the exceptional soundtrack. The music fits the tone of the film perfectly, and I like that they went with some older songs, even if they did have newer bands perform their cover versions (Nine Inch Nails' version of "Dead Souls" isn't as good as Joy Division's original, but it is perhaps a better fit for this film). The two highlights though are My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult's performance in Top Dollar's club, and the iconic Cure song "Burn" (the best song on the soundtrack, and one of their best songs period), which you hear just after Draven puts on his white facepaint, and it encapsulates the overall feel of the movie so well I can't imagine the film without it.
It's actually quite remarkable that they managed to save this movie and turn it into something coherent, given the fact that the lead actor died filming one of the most pivotal scenes (albeit toward the end of shooting). I have to assume that if Mr. Lee had been alive to see the final cut, he would have been very happy with it, and might have agreed that it serves as a rather poignant ending to a promising career cut tragically short. I recently read that they are planning to "reboot" the franchise by remaking this movie, which is extremely disappointing to me. While there was certainly room for improvement, this is Brandon's movie now, and they should just leave it the fuck alone, rather than try to ruin something special by diluting the potency of this movie (though they already tried that with the shitty sequels).
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
|I recently read that they are planning to "reboot" the franchise by remaking this movie, which is extremely disappointing to me.|
|rather than try to ruin something special by diluting the potency of this movie (though they already tried that with the shitty sequels).|
I like this movie, though the sequels mostly suck.
Always wondered by it was Eric that came back from the dead instead of his fiance. She was raped as well as murdered, so doesn't she have an even better reason to seek vengeance? Seemed a little bit sexist that even after she's dead it's her boyfriend's job to take care of business.
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