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The Crow (30th anniversary revisit)

On May 13, 1994, Johnny Carson was on Late Show with David Letterman, his final televised appearance. Times were rolling on, guards were changing. That same day Miramax, an indie studio recently purchased by Disney, had their biggest opening ever with a bitter R-rated comic book adaptation. While boomers were preparing to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Woodstock, here was a movie with a soundtrack full of Lollapalooza bands, their names underlined on the poster, above a 1-900 number you could call “for music CD preview.” That particular demographic hadn’t really been cinematically catered to so directly, and they showed up, as did others. It was even well reviewed by critics, who were unlikely to be comic book nerds or Nine Inch Nails fans in those days.

Now THE CROW is 30 years old, further in our past than Woodstock was at the time. Jesus christ, man. I wrote a review of it 15 years ago. Time flies when you’re getting old, I guess. In 1994 this movie seemed amazing and important – it not only felt so new in its style, but was part of a collective mourning and/or discovery of this exciting actor who had lost his life making a movie about losing his life. Maybe I was falling for the ads asking us to “EXPERIENCE THE MOVIE EVENT OF THE YEAR” and “Take the journey. Experience the phenomenon.” But I went solemnly into a dark theater, the movie washed over me, I could just feel it more than think about it. Watching it now it’s more a movie I find interesting than a movie I can love. But I don’t mind that it’s style over substance. That’s why it works. Evocative imagery and effusive, unexamined emotion – that’s what goth is about, as far as I can understand. That’s what being a teenager is about. I used to be one of those.

You may disagree, but I think the movie’s untouchable reputation today is at least 90% based on the extra weight given to it by Brandon Lee’s tragic death. In an ideal world he’d still be alive and THE CROW would just be another oddball, flawed-but-enthusiastic comic book movie of the ‘90s. Don’t take that as a dis, because it’s a category I hold in high regard.

It’s been years, but from what I remember Alex Proyas’ only previous feature, SPIRITS OF THE AIR, GREMLINS OF THE CLOUDS (1988) wasn’t very big on narrative. Most of his experience was in short films and in music videos for artists including Yes, Crowded House and Mike Oldfield, where music, mood, and style are required, storytelling and characterization are optional. Here he was armed with two other up-and-coming visual heavy-hitters: production designer Alex McDowell, who had done some Madonna videos and THE LAWNMOWER MAN, and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, who had only done NIGHTFALL and ROMEO IS BLEEDING. Both have gone on to work primarily with directors who insist on their movies looking really good (Terry Gilliam, David Fincher, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton and Zack Snyder for McDowell, Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, Gore Verbinski, Burton, Robert Zemeckis and David Michod for Wolski).

Though at times a little chintzy with its ‘90s dissolves and distorted bird-POV shots, THE CROW is overall an impressive exercise in style. It admirably follows that BATMAN-spawned ethic that comic book movies should always take place in stylized settings. This gloomalopolis is supposed to be Detroit, but it might as well be Gotham or another fictional urban hell. The model buildings look fake in a fun way – I love the whiplash of zooming into the window of a miniature to find full-sized live action inside – but the equally stylized alleys are real, and the term “urban gothic” rarely fit anything so perfectly. This was a time when if you were a comic book not made for kids you damn well better have a scene set at a gothic church at night. I don’t make the rules. I just enforce them. There’s such a sense of place – the heavy rain, the overcast days, the little outdoor hot dog stand where Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson, COLLISION COURSE) likes to eat. (He puts ketchup on his, I’m reporting him to Dirty Harry. Easily the darkest and most fucked up part of the movie, that he can’t have the comfort of a hot dog with the proper condiments.)

Albrecht is a supporting character, I suppose, but also the point-of-view. He was on the scene after Eric Draven (Lee) was shot and thrown out the window, and we’re later told he was at the hospital with Eric’s fiancee Shelly (Sofia Shinas, TERMINAL VELOCITY) when she died. A year later he’s taken on the couple’s role as supportive adult friend to wayward skateboarding teen Sarah (Rochelle Davis). He’s also a witness to resurrected-and-now-wearing-mime-makeup-and-stolen-trenchcoat Eric, eventually is visited by him in his apartment, talks to him like he’s a living human, has the beginnings of a buddy-cop relationship. I guess the idea of Albrecht is that he’s seen and done all kinds of crazy shit in this job, might as well add bird-related goth ghost murder spree enabling to the list.

The movie needs Albrecht and Sarah to ground you because it doesn’t put you in the shoes of the character going through this. Can’t, really, because they had to do the crucial parts without showing his face. It took me 30 years, luckily, but now I can’t help but see the seams, the clunkiness of having to work around missing 3 days of filming with the lead actor. Maybe it’s because now I know who Chad Stahelski is, I’ve seen his long hair and lanky movements in BLOODSPORT III, I can’t unsee that that’s him in the long section where Eric has first returned from the dead, returns to his apartment, runs around on roof tops, always in shadows or turned away from us or with his hair hanging down over his face. They did a great job with what they had, the handful of digital composite shots are really convincing, it’s by no means GAME OF DEATH. But we don’t have a real scene with Lee until 20 minutes in.

Unavoidable, of course, but it really underlines the main problem I have with the movie, one that might have been somewhat in the cards anyway, because it’s similar in the comic book version: we only have the barest cliches about Eric and Shelly’s lives and love before all this. We never know them as people. We only know Eric as a delighted-with-himself psychopath on a rampage, who hints at humanity by being nice to a teen and making a few jokes with a cop.

The simplicity of the revenge story is part of its appeal. You got normal life, then some motherfucker does something horrible that ruins it, so a survivor plans and then executes a violent revenge scheme. This is that same story, but skipping most of the steps. When it begins, the normal life and horrible thing steps are already done, we glimpse them only in tiny blips. And then he doesn’t really make a plan, he just finds out he can heal from bullet wounds, so he goes to find those guys and kill them, only facing resistance at the end when they discover that killing the crow makes him vulnerable. Whether through design or unfortunate circumstances, the whole structure of the simple formula is thrown off.

I would like to bring up, just because it wasn’t the kind of thing many dudes thought to ask in 1994: if Eric and Shelly were killed together, why did only Eric come back “to make things right”? Why does Shelly – who was raped and then saw her fiance murdered and then continued to suffer in the ambulance and hospital – apparently find peace in the afterlife, but Eric has unfinished business? If it’s only possible for one of them to come back, shouldn’t it be her? Is it that Eric is a psycho with violence in him and Shelly never would be? Or is it the DEATH WISH paternalistic attitude, we must protect “our” women from violation, which is a crime against our pride as men?

I’ve read interviews with the author/illustrator of the comic, James O’Barr, and he seems like a thoughtful guy who’s very aware of Eric being similar to the people he kills. He did the comic to try to exorcise his feelings about his fiancee being killed by a drunk driver, found that it only made him feel worse, then became good friends with Lee during the making of the movie and felt tremendous guilt over his death.

I feel for the guy. But to me the movie is a big improvement on his book, in part because the actors impart at least some humanity into the one dimensional villains. And it was smart to add the outrageous element, the weirdo witchcraft shit. Gravel-voiced Michael Wincott (ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES) as Top Dollar, sporting long straight hair, introduced with two naked women, one of them his sister (Bai Ling in her first major American movie), the other one dead, and they cut out her eyes and smoke them in a little cauldron while enjoying a SCARFACE-sized pile of cocaine. Depicting a landlord as a depraved warlock who sends a gang of rapists to evict tenants for standing up for their rights might be the most truly poetic touch in the movie. Also I enjoy when a villain has a vault that opens out of a wall and contains a collection of fancy swords.

I like seeing Top Dollar and his most socially acceptable enforcer Grange (Tony Todd in his followup to EXCESSIVE FORCE which was his followup to CANDYMAN) in the penthouse getting worried while the spectre of righteous anger and pretentious quotes cuts through his street guys with “jolly pirate nicknames,” Tin Tin (Laurence Mason, TRUE ROMANCE), Funboy (Michael Massee, TALES FROM THE HOOD), T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly, also in CROOKLYN, released the same day) and Skank (Angel David, TENEMENT). And of course Jon Polito (HIGHLANDER, THE ROCKETEER) was perfect to play Gideon, the pawn shop owner who yells “SHIT ON ME!” when Eric breaks in to terrorize and interrogate him. The idea of Eric digging through a bin of engagement rings to find Shelly’s assuming they’re all people who were murdered [citation needed], then firing some of them out of a shotgun to ignite a gasoline trail, is the story’s most inspired stalking technique.

For me, though, the older I get the less rewarding it is to watch him just scare and murder guys. Makes me glad he occasionally pursues other interests, like curing Sarah’s mom Darla (Anna Levine, NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES, WARLOCK, UNFORGIVEN) of her morphine addiction. The film’s most colossally corny line, “Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children,” is verbatim from the comic, where he says even more shit like that, and quotes the Bible and stuff, trying to sound deep. It would be hard for me to think a guy walking around talking like that is cool, even if he wasn’t carrying an electric guitar as a prop. If this was a guy you met in real life you and your friends would make jokes about him for the rest of your lives (unless he killed you). But I will try not to hold it against him, in the spirit of him not holding it against Darla that she sleeps with Funboy and works as a waitress at his criminal-oriented bar The Pit (sister organization to The Pit in PCU, I believe). Her subplot is worth it for the sweet scene where she shocks Sarah by making breakfast.

What if instead of killing people, The Crow just played a guitar solo so beautiful it made them all repent and become good people? And then he throws the guitar into the crowd like Prince did at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of fame and disappears? Just an idea.

Jeff Imada (who also did IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS and DOUBLE DRAGON that year, plus stunts for three VANISHING SON movies, ON DEADLY GROUND, NAKED GUN 33 1/3 and THE PUPPET MASTERS) is credited as stunt coordinator and co-fight-choreographer along with Lee. The stunt crew also included the legendary Buddy Joe Hooker and future directors Stahelski and Ric Roman Waugh. But the emphasis of the action is more on guns than martial arts, so it doesn’t feel like a Brandon Lee action vehicle, which I’m sure was part of the appeal to him, since he wanted to be seen as a serious actor more than action star. I’d question whether this is really a more complex character than his others, but it’s certainly a more colorful register of acting that you can imagine could be more fulfilling for him. And there’s something to be said for his dedication to bringing the poses in the comic book to life.

But I’m not Brandon Lee so I don’t have to have the same priorities as him. I don’t agree with the assumption that “real acting” is of greater value than the roles that required more intensive choreography. There are way more people who could’ve played Eric Draven than could’ve starred in RAPID FIRE or LEGACY OF RAGE. A movie done in this style but with fight sequences like RAPID FIRE – that might’ve become my religion! I guess Eric would’ve had to run a small martial arts school instead of playing guitar in a band.

Despite my misgivings about the movie, it seems the question about whether or not it should’ve been finished and released have been answered definitively. It was supported by his family, but seemed a little iffy at the time. A 1993 Entertainment Weekly article reported that original studio Paramount dropped it, not wanting to look like they were exploiting Lee’s death. Then they had trouble finding another studio to pick it up, due it being depressing and violent. Warner Brothers passed because they thought it would get an NC-17. Miramax picked it up, made it a hit, made it a cursed franchise that never worked without Lee. And though I wish THE CROW didn’t so thoroughly eclipse the rest of Lee’s filmography in the public consciousness, it has inarguably kept his memory alive.

The credited screenwriters are David J. Schow (LEATHERFACE: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III) and John Shirley (RoboCop cartoon), but the EW article said new scenes were being written by Walon Green (THE WILD BUNCH, SORCERER, ROBOCOP 2) and Terry Hayes (ROAD WARRIOR, BEYOND THUNDERDOME, DEAD CALM). It sounds like the deaths of Eric and Shelly being in “dreamy flashback” was a change from what was originally planned – it must’ve been too upsetting to see the full scene play out knowing what happened. The narration by Sarah and the idea of killing the crow replaced scenes where Michael Berryman as a supernatural character called “Skull Cowboy” would warn Eric he’d lose his powers if he interfered in the affairs of the living. Lee hadn’t filmed all his scenes with Berryman, and Proyas didn’t think it was working anyway. Sounds cool though.

Even without the Berryman bump, THE CROW opened at #1 and became the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children. Its biggest legacies are the memory of Brandon Lee and changes to gun safety practices on film sets, but it also spawned the popular soundtrack album (which made it to #1 on the Billboard chart and has been certified triple platinum), the unpopular sequels (THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS, THE CROW: SALVATION and THE CROW: WICKED PRAYER), one season of the Canadian TV series The Crow: Stairway to Heaven starring the great Mark Dacascos, and many years of trying to do a remake which is finally in the can and due this August. None of those things have ever come close to overshadowing or marring the reputation of the first THE CROW. It has proven to be one of the most lasting films of summer ’94.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2024 at 3:52 pm and is filed under Reviews, Comic strips/Super heroes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

26 Responses to “The Crow (30th anniversary revisit)”

  1. BIG MOVIE FREAK

    May 16th, 2024 at 5:21 pm

    I’ve not seen the movie for a really long time, although I was one of those who are very fond of it since its release, and I’m even listening to the soundtrack as I’m writing this. Although I understand your qualms, which I might even share (and I will be finding out if I do once my 4K Bluray copy finally arrives in a few weeks), but I think the movie worked because it just hit all the right beats of a typical revenge flick and differentiate itself enough from one to make it fresh and memorable. The mystic gothic urban nihilism accompanied by one of the greatest soundtracks ever made, and of course Brandon Lee’s charismatic performance made it a classic despite its flaws.

  2. Honestly, this movie is less a movie in the conventional sense, but instead a modern myth. The plot is barely there, there don’t seem to be any stakes, but it has this “larger than life” quality. The story of an invincible man, who punishes wrongdoers without any problems and heals the addicted with his touch. More of a modern day(-ish) Hercules than your normal action hero. And I can appreciate that. I doubt that I will ever be able to LOVE this movie, but it’s (even if you manage to remove it from its real world tragedy) fascinating and of course really well made.

  3. God this movie was the closest I ever came to having a religion. I used to wear heavy trench coats to school in Queensland Australian summers (Like 95 degrees F and 90% humidity) and almost gave myself heat stroke.

    There are clips of the skull cowboy scenes floating around the internet and I’m not sure if they’re good but the skull cowboy looks dope as hell and should absoluetly have been kept in the film on those grounds alone.

  4. “if Eric and Shelly were killed together, why did only Eric come back “to make things right”?” The answer is 100% The Patriarchy. It’s both demeaning to women and damaging to men by pushing forward the message that men should turn to violence to work out their emotions. Men would rather come back from the dead as a gothic bird murder ghost than go to therapy. I joke but that’s totally the message. And even so, I still love this movie.

  5. I always figured Eric Draven came back cause he died during the robbery where as Shelly died afterwoulds in a hospital from her injuries. So Eric’s death was like a direct violence thing?

    At least that’s the reason I always took from the movie, the real reason is obviously cause James O’Barr was alive and his fiancée wasn’t.

  6. My problem with this film was always the villain. Especially in a post-Hans Gruber world. I mean he just sits there on his mountain of coke and waits to be killed.

    Bill Clay wouldn’t have gone out like that.

  7. I mean… it’s not like there’s a shortage of rape-revenge movies about women getting justice for being assaulted.

  8. BuzzFeedAldrin

    May 17th, 2024 at 6:54 am

    With all the talk about this movie upon its 30th anniversary, as someone who saw it in the theater, am I crazy or was the movie not good? I feel that was vibe at the time? That poor Brandon Lee was cut down in his prime for a movie that made for better screensavers than an enjoyable film? I know it’s now commonplace for mid movies to be reappraised as “lost gems” but I don’t recall much love for this movie, even as a cult film, despite it doing well in theaters? There was classically a lot of weinstein interference that turned O’Barr’s meditation on moving past loss and NOT giving in to anger into basically a goth Death Wish.

    The soundtrack though, amazing. God tier.

  9. Dreadguacamole

    May 17th, 2024 at 9:12 am

    Dunno. I think Vern nails it with that comment that it was aimed at a demographic that was historically not well catered-to, but I’d emphasize that it wasn’t just the Loollapalooza crowd – it was the sub-crowd within it which consisted mostly of nerds and outcasts who took to it very vocally; The love for it when it came out, at least from those quarters, was undeniable.
    For a movie – a violent, cool movie, at that, to be aimed at ‘them’ (which I was a part of, of course), emphasizing the visuals and musical aspects and getting them so right? back then it seemed like a minor miracle, and I’m not surprised a lot of people hold it so dear. Hell, it still holds a special place for me, despite having come to recognize it’s got issues since.

  10. I definitely wanted it to be more of an action movie back then. I was a huge RAPID FIRE fan and wanted more of that flavor. So it didn’t quite give me what I wanted, but I still loved the look and feel and sound. It was definitely not my type of music but I shoplifted the soundtrack anyway. It was just cool. Even a hip-hop snob like 17-year-old me could tell that.

    A few years back, I recommended it to a Zoomer girl I worked with who leaned goth. She’d never even heard of it before, despite looking and dressing like she got reverse-LAST ACTION HEROed right out of the world of the movie. I think that speaks to how the whole CROW ethos has been so fully subsumed and appropriated by the culture at large. Its influences are so ubiquitous as to be invisible.

    She texted me halfway through that it might just be her favorite movie. So whatever it’s selling, it might not work for us crusty old dudes anymore, but it still very much works for its intended audience: girls with leg tattoos who wear too much eye makeup.

  11. hurtado – He does have a big sword fight at the end. Which was foreshadowed by his cool sword collection. I respect it.

    Kaplan – I’m not talking about what sorts of movies we need more of. I’m talking about the emotional logic of this specific story and its mythology. It assumes that this is the way to supernaturally “set things right,” and I’m questioning where that assumption comes from.

    BuzzFeedAldrin – Maybe it’s an age thing, maybe it’s just the circles we run in. My experience was that most of the people around me thought it was great. And I know the soundtrack was a big deal for those into that sort of thing. And for many of the modern action fans it’s sort of a sacred cow because of their reverence for Lee.

    Dreadguacamole – You’re right, I couldn’t resist that Lollapalooza/Woodstock comparison because I remember a bunch of these bands being on Lollapalooza tours. But THE CROW seems aimed at a more specific subset of youth/alternative culture than that.

  12. I have a bad feeling about the upcoming reboot.

  13. Franchise Fred

    May 17th, 2024 at 3:36 pm

    I never questioned Eric being the avenger the first time although Vern’s point is valid. I certainly questioned why it kept being a man even in the dtv sequels. Second one, a father and son, ok. By Salvation it certainly made sense for the murderer woman to come back and avenge her falsely accused boyfriend but that would’ve been too clever.

    O’Barr even pitched a female Crow and the pre-Kill Bill Weinsteins wouldn’t do it.

  14. I believe Goyer also wanted one for part 2.

  15. To me this movie’s legacy is simply how WCW repackaged the Sting character to their audience at a time professional wrestling was having to step up from the sort of do-gooder he was (and brilliant at) into something more recognizable amidst the culture shift happening in the 90’s where this was becoming more fashionable. Right up to Columbine, anyway.

    The editor of Michael Mann’s movies right up to HEAT, Dov Hoenig is credited here too. This is far more to the fantastical then the ruminative reality of those movies, but if you look at how well put together something like the opening of THIEF is, the possibilities of feeling a heightened reaction to a normal occurrence of a rainy Chicago night, and experiencing it cinematically as close to feeling there as possible.

  16. To be fair, Shelly does come back if only to take Eric to the afterlife. Also, it is her trauma (transferred by Eric, via Albrecht) that ultimately kills Top Dollar. I guess the takeaway is that men come back from the dead out of guilt (or at least regret) and women come back to assuage those men. Some real John Gray shit right there.

    My favorite part of the movie happens in the final rooftop duel when Eric grabs the lightning rod and lightning happens to strike it at the same time. The odds of being struck by lightning are like 1/1,000,000. I guess they are fighting on a rooftop during a thunderstorm which increases the likelihood of it happening, but still. Maybe that only counts for people who are living.

  17. Dreadguacamole

    May 18th, 2024 at 7:39 am

    Vern, your statement still stands, and the comparison is a good one. I was just, well, unnecessarily stating the obvious as I usually do, mostly as a half-reply to BuzzFeedAldrin as to a possible reason why he didn’t notice any sort of rapturous response to the movie. Maybe he simply moved in different circles to THE CROW’s target audience, though it was definitely well-liked beyond just them (as Mr. Majestik pointed out).

    More importantly… are we finally getting a MOONCHILD review with this series?

  18. BuzzFeedAldrin

    May 18th, 2024 at 8:55 am

    I was 14 at the time and just getting into punk/hardcore/industrial so, despite the Crow being rated R, it was aimed squarely at me. And despite being a fan of the comic, I never dug the movie. Ditto my comic loving friends. I also distinctly remember mainstream critics panning it at the time. I’m fully able to accept that it might have become more beloved by generations after me (funnily enough, I saw Fear and Loathing upon release in my senior year of high school and fell in love with it. Still one of my favorite movies of all time. I bought the Criterion dvd for the commentaries and one of the producers said that they thought it would be a hit with the college crowd but they hated it. The high school crowd, however, loved it!)

    but I still can’t call The Crow a “good” movie today.

  19. I seem to remember that the movie went over well with German critics. They probably saw it more as a moody arthouse movie than a Hollywood revenge actioner based on a funnybook. Honestly, I can see how this could play well as a companion piece to the admittedly more quirky and fun Jeunet & Caro flicks.

    But it also didn’t become an instant popculture phenomenon over here. Probably because in 94 we were all dying our hairs blue and purple, put on gasmasks and cow pattern slacks, then danced to 180bpm Techno beats, instead of being all dark and gloomy. (I seem to remember talking on here once about how fun and carefree the 90s were in Germany, compared to the gloomy Goth and Grunge that was going on in the US at that time.)

    The soundtrack sold pretty well here too, but not like it did in the US. It spent only 14 weeks in the charts, only three of those in the top 10 (peaking at #6) and it left the top 40 pretty quickly. https://www.offiziellecharts.de/album-details-1902

  20. Dread – I don’t know MOONCHILD and I can’t find a release date, but I will check it out.

  21. I… Would not necessarily recommend MOONCHILD to anyone. It does seem to be from 1994, according to google (I saw it a few years later), but I its cultural impact is next to zero and it’s kind of a chore to watch.
    It’s on the cheaper side of regional movies – think Don Dohler, but these guys were obviously having a lot more fun and it’s kind of infectious. Also, some of the stuff they get up to is fairly impressive (moving car stunts, a cool for its time morph effect, and quite a few locations).

  22. Watched the OG Max Max again last night preparing for Furiosa and noticed some surprisingly clear influences on The Crow comic book:

    Crows and the sounds of crows feature throughout Mad Max

    The way Eric and Shelley are killed in the comic is very evocative of the scene in Mad Max when Toecutter’s gang attacks the couple in their hot rod – and closeups of a crow flash across the screen, blocking our view of the horror

    Max is, of course, a man in black leather avenging the death of his wife (and kid)

    O’Barr was probably thrilled to have an actual Mad Mad sequel author work on the film.

  23. Well, on a Doylist level, it’s because O’Barr is writing about his personal feelings as a man and on a Watsonian level, it’s because Shelly was at peace after her death and Eric wasn’t. You can get all CinemaSins with it–why aren’t there at least hundreds of Holocaust victims who were so vengeful after death that they came back and killed Nazis if that’s possible in this universe, etc etc?–but I think those are the sort of “how EXACTLY does Superman fly?” questions that don’t improve the story with their asking.

  24. Franchise Fred

    May 19th, 2024 at 3:34 pm

    How would you compare this to the mourning dealt with in Furious 7? It’s probably impossible to take ourselves back to the shock in 1993 when Lee died, and maybe he hadn’t had a body of work like Paul Walker did, and Lee was killed due to blatant negligence and Walker in a genuine accident.

    So yes 30 years later I still don’t separate The Crow from my mourning of Brandon Lee. And it’s a macabre coincidence that his last ever footage was a movie about resurrection and grief (with kicking). But it’s the only way I can feel any sort of closure about it. We should have Rapid Fire 10 by now and some Oscar winning star turn from Lee, let alone the real life and family he should’ve had with his fiancé.

    Furious 7 is a more cathartic and satisfying a movie. Partly because they had more modern resources to cobble together a send off for Walker (please God do not cgi Brian into Fast XI). Wan is a better director. And it’s a bombastic franchise. But also were it just part 7 and not how I have to cope with losing Walker (someone I happened to meet a few times through my job) well it’d still be better than 9 and 10 but it’s moot because it’s inextricably linked.

  25. One of the CLASSICS. Lee was right to want to branch out, doing generic mid range action movies would have led him to a career like Mark DaCascos who is also amazingly talented and a jaw-dropping martial artist, way better than Lee…but he didn’t exactly set the world on fire because he couldn’t break out of b-movie crap beyond a few flicks, and even Drive which is GREAT is still b-movie level. Unlike Walker Lee’s death is just linked forever with this movie because not only did he die on set but footage from that scene is in the movie. But fuck did this have style.

  26. I first saw “The Crow” on TV in 1995, as an edited version made for network broadcast. I don’t recall watching it on VHS after that, but I did own the theatrical version on DVD in the early 2000s. I later bought the Blu-Ray edition in 2011, and the only reason I haven’t purchased the recent 4K release is that my HDTV sadly won’t support the format. But this movie still remains one of my all-time favorites – I love almost everything about it. Yes, its part action and revenge fantasy, but at the heart of the whole thing is a deeply emotional love story…and I think that’s what sets it apart from other movies which have tried to mimic it. I saw the first two sequels, and they both had good moments, but there was also a lot of unnecessary content in them as well. The spinoff TV show “Stairway to Heaven” had some potential, but it sadly only lasted a single year.

    The background music for “The Crow” is stellar, composed by Graeme Revell. I’m not a huge fan of heavy-metal or punk-rock music, but I love film scores, and the effort put into this is absolutely incredible. Varese Sarabande re-released it as a 2-CD Deluxe Edition set in 2021, but I had a tough time tracking down a copy since the initial offering was only a few thousand copies. In the end, it was a little pricey, but I’m still glad to have it.

    I also attended a local screening of the movie last night though, and while the picture and sound quality were amazing, the overall experience was disappointing because there were only about 20 people there (myself included). But the vastly improved presentation made me think the recent remaster supervised by original DP Dariusz Wolski was probably used for both this exhibition and the recent 4K Ultra HD disc. Also, Cinemark’s website seemed to suggest that production designer Alex McDowell would be addressing the audience at some point, but all we got was a very brief video clip beforehand. I still loved seeing the movie on the big screen, so in that regard it gets top marks. But I’ll grant the experience as a whole a middle grade, say 5 out of 10.

    As for the upcoming remake, I have zero interest in it – the whole thing reeks of desperately-made, studio-controlled trash. The trailer was just a pointless mess, and it doesn’t resemble James O’Barr’s original graphic novel or the first film at all. Whoever thought up this newfangled approach should’ve been fired ASAP.

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