Date Posted: 30/08/2021
The Crow is a 1994 film directed by Alex Proyas, and was the first film to star Brandon Lee in a non-martial arts role. It was also the film in which he was tragically killed in an accident during filming, and the film was completed using body and stunt doubles.
You may have noticed that I have not posted a review in a few weeks, and the reason for this is really two fold. First, there just hasn’t been anything that I have cared about enough to review, either good or bad. Most things seem to be okay, or entertaining enough, and nothing that warrants attention from my mighty alien brain. Secondly, I have decided to add a new edition to Abbie and my little family, so I have been working on building one. Now this is not another humanoid like Abbie was, rather I have been designing something like a pet. I haven’t yet worked out all the kinks so watch this space for new updates as soon as I can bring it, or rather him, online.
Anyway, as my attention has been divided I haven’t had a chance to watch anything new, or play any new games. I have had intermittent bashes as Shadow of the Colossus Remastered but I am not sure if I’m going to stick with it yet.
In times like this I fall back on shining a light on things that I really like which leads me to The Crow...
Naturally I’ll give you the gist and then we can take a deeper look.
The night before Halloween in Detroit has become known as Devil’s Night and features a plague of arson. In an attic apartment Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson) is at the scene of a brutal crime, a young couple have been attacked. Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) lies dead on the pavement after being stabbed, shot and thrown out of a window and his girlfriend Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas) has been beaten, raped and is taken to the hospital in a critical condition.
One year later, a friend of the couple named Sarah (Rochelle Davis) visits their graves. As she leaves a crow lands on Eric’s gravestone and begins to tap on the stone. The coffin lid moves as Eric pushes his way from his own grave.
Across town, the gang responsible for the deaths of Eric and Shelly are preparing for Devil’s Night. The crow leads Eric back to his former apartment and whilst there he remembers what happened to him and Shelly. Imitating an old mask he paints his face white and sets out after the gang responsible for murdering him and Shelly...
The Crow was a film based upon a comic book by the same name by James O'Barr and is quite simply a visual treat. I have read the comic and whilst it is similar the film takes the best ideas from that and put them on screen. This isn’t an obvious comic book movie, as the city, whilst nameless, is gritty and dirty. The gang members are ruthlessly cold bloodied and think nothing of killing anyone they chose. Eric tries to instil remorse in Tin Tin played by Laurence Mason but he obviously doesn’t care about him or Shelly and tries to kill Eric again.
The slow realisation of what is coming for them dawns on the gang members as Eric goes after them one after another. A particularly great scene is when T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly) realises who Eric is, but cannot believe it, they live in the “really real world” and in that world “there ain’t no coming back”.
The Crow is original with a dark, almost gothic aesthetic. Eric himself lingers on the edge of sanity, his wrath is focussed on the gang, but he also reconnects with Sarah and finds an ally in the form of Albrecht. The film has been compared to both Blade Runner (1982) and Batman (1989) for its portrayal of grimy, and forbidding cities in which characters can plunge to the very brink of sanity.
The tragedy of The Crow is obviously the death of its very talented star; however, the film is an excellent legacy to Brandon Lee and shows how much potential he had if he had not been cut down in his prime.
It is also a shame that filmmakers couldn’t allow The Crow to be a standalone film. In true Hollywood fashion, attempts have been made to produce worthy sequels and whilst some of them are okay, essentially they are just a rehashing of the first film.
Fans of the 1989 Batman and/or 1982’s Blade Runner will love the dark city and the story of a resurrected man seeking justice. The Crow is a film that uses fast-paced action and visual style that should not to be missed and should be watched by any self-respecting film fan.
9/10 - An excellent film that is a fitting tribute to Brandon Lee.