(MWB) Outside the Genre: The Crow

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This review was requested by my friend Sarah and Rusty Shackleford. While The Crow isn’t a horror film it’s still a film that’s worth talking about. Like other movies that I have talked about The Crow was one of my favorite films growing up. In fact I’m willing to go as far as to say that The Crow remains to be one of my favorites. The Crow is a wildly popular franchise based around the comic series created by James O’Barr. The crow was a box office success grossing slightly over 50 million dollars. The Crow has spawned 3 sequels and a short lived TV series The Crow: Stairway to Heaven in 1998. The films huge cult following is at least partly due to Brandon Lees tragic death while filming.

The Crow follows Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) who returns from the dead to avenge his murder and the murder of fiance on the eve of “Devils Night” the night before Halloween. His spirit is brought back from he land of the dead to set the wrong things right by a magical crow. He stalks and kills Tin Tin (Laurance Mason), T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly), Funboy (Micheal Massee) and Skank (Angle David) the men who assaulted him  and his fiance. Meanwhile Sarah (Rochelle Davis) a girl who Eric and his fiance Shelly (Sofia Shinas) cared for and Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson) the officer on duty that responded to the murders. Both characters have their own subplots that wrap around and intertwine with Erics. Eric learns that his and his fiances murders were ordered by crime boss Top Dollar (Micheal Wincott) and his sister Myca (Bai Ling). Top Dollar kidnaps Sarah leading to climactic fight scene on the roof of an abandoned church.

The Crow is incredibly well written sporting well developed and memorable characters. Brandon Lee is nothing short of iconic with his portrayal of Eric Draven. Lee almost wasn’t cast for the role out of fear that due to his kung fu roots he wouldn’t fit the character. Johnny Deep was originally considered for the role of Eric Draven by creator James O’Barr. Sadly due to a mismanagement of props and failure of over site Brandon Lee was fatally shot while filming. Some final scenes were filmed with stunt doubles as Lee had already filmed the majority of his scenes.

This film also boasts my favorite on screen performance of Ernie Hudson. He hits all the right notes in his role of Sergeant Albrecht who is genuinely good cop. All of the villains are also memorable which given the shortness of screen time that any one of the has I find that impressive. With David Patrick Kelly being particularly memorable as T-Bird quoting Milton’s “Paradise Lost”.

The music is one my favorite parts of this film. Burn by The Cure which turns out isn’t just my personal favorite. Apparently the band never performs this song being a fan favorite. Also while writing the comic series creator James O’Barr listened to The Cure extensively and was delighted to hear they would record a song for the film. The music sets the perfect mood for the film.

The films setting is also of note being somewhat timeless. Set in a dystopian alternate timeline where gangsters rule the city and the cops are unable to stop them. The city feels almost empty with no one on the streets and the only packed place being the Crime Bosses night club. The city is dirty, grimy,choked in ash while managing to remain rainy, cold and depressing.

But I do have a complaint so small it’s almost beyond reproach and that’s the digital effects haven’t aged very well. The healing looks campy and where they digitally placed Brandon Lees face on stunt double posthumously are glaring. But for a film that will be celebrating its 20th birthday on May 11th its understandable but notable. The shots the digitally added Lees face while they stick out now to me I don’t know if because I know what scenes to look for or if it is that bad I can’t tell.

So what is my opinion finial opinion on the The Crow? It rocks go watch it solid 10.

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