"A very sad movie, both plot and production."
- Mighty Peking Man
The Crow (1994)
Director: Alex Proyas
Producer: Edward R. Pressman
Writer: James O'Barr (comic book), David J. Schow, John Shirley
Action Director: Jeff Imada
Cast: Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, David Patrick Kelly, Angel David, Rochelle Davis, Bai Ling, Laurence Mason, Michael Massee, Bill Raymond, Marco Rodríguez, Sofia Shinas, Anna Levine, Tony Todd, Jon Polito
Running Time: 100/101/102 min.
PLOT: You know it.
YATE'S REVIEW: I do not know how exactly to rate this movie. I enjoyed a lot of it. Brandon Lee gives a good last performance and the use of miniatures is great. There is a great villian who screws his own sister. The scene where Brandon Lee gets shot through the hand is pretty cool, as were a lot of other effects in the film. I also disliked a lot of it. The action was stiff and the direction boring. Some of the supporting actors gave bad performances. The falling scenes, while cool looking, are terribly fake. The end was sort of a drag. The use of doubles is obvious and quite lame. Overall, this would have been a better film if the action were better choreographed and the direction flashier. A good action film, but not up to HK standards.
YATE'S RATING: 6.5/10
NUMSKULL'S REVIEW: The Crow is a movie full of rare things.
It's rare for a person to get killed during production, especially the lead actor. But, as I'm sure you're aware, Brandon Lee died of a gunshot wound before filming was complete.
It's rare for a movie to enjoy mainstream success when it deals rape, drugs, incest, and people having their eyes removed in various ways. But Shelley Winters gets gang-banged, half the characters abuse controlled substances, Michael Wincott makes it perfectly clear that he bones his sister, and people do indeed have their eyes removed in various ways.
It's rare for a child actor or actress to actually have talent. But, the girl who plays Sarah (I can't read her name on the credits because they're so damn blurry, but I think her first name is Angel) succeeds admirably in her role instead of just being a female Macauly Culkin. You might complain that she's too dead-eyed and automatonlike, but consider this: when was the last time you saw a kid that age get excited about anything without the word "Pokemon" on it?
It's rare for a movie to have a strong supporting cast of small names. But here we've got a very memorable crew of bad guys (especially Skank, the speed freak who feels like a little worm on a big fuckin' hook) led by the criminally unknown Michael Wincott (also in Strange Days, a personal favorite of mine). Also there's Ernie Hudson, who is a hell of a lot better as a beat cop than he was as a Ghostbuster.
Sadly, The Crow is also a movie full of common things.
It's common for a movie to have some crappy actors mixed in with the good ones Alas, there's the bartender, there's MIchael Wincott's bodyguard guy, and there's the cop who says "I hate this. They can't even call it 'cream' legally."
It's common for a movie to have a soundtrack loaded with over-rated, under-talented MTV sweethearts. Alas, you'll be subjected to agonizing garbage by the likes of Nine Inch Nails (led by Trent Reznor, the man who loves nothing more than to fiddle with a sound mixer and scream about his penis), Stone Temple Pilots (led by Scott Weiland, the man whose shoe size equals the number of times he's been busted for heroin), and Rage Against The Machine (led by...well, I don't know any of the members' names, but they've got that "rap with electric guitars" thing going on and I really, really hate that shit).
It's common for a movie (or a person, for that matter) to misuse the word "anarchy". Alas, the line "Disorder...chaos...anarchy...now that's FUN!" was pulled out of someone's ass The true meaning of anarchy has about as much to do with "disorder" and "chaos" as Marilyn Manson (and thank God HE'S not on the soundtrack) has to do with "wisdom" and "integrity".
It's common for a movie to spawn a really bad sequel. Alas, The Crow: City of Angels came into existence and, well...the less said, the better.
Happily, the pros here outweigh the cons.
Mr. Bona doesn't seem to be too impressed with Brandon Lee's acting skills. After watching Rapid Fire I would agree, but I really think his performance in The Crow is solid. Unfortunately, computer images were used to fill in for him after he died, so for certain parts, the techies must share in the credit.
That reminds me. How come there wasn't more of an uproar about HOW Brandon Lee died instead of the simple fact that he DID? I personally don't think that "tragedy" and "accident" are valid explanations for a real bullet being placed in a gun that was only supposed to be loaded with blanks. Is anyone with me or did I miss something?
Mr. Bona also doesn't seem to be too impressed with the special effects during the "Look at my hand and watch the bullet hole magically vanish" scene. That, I cannot dispute.
Surely I'm not the only one who read the graphic novel upon which this movie is based. Does anyone else wish they had included the part where Eric Draven uses Funboy's blood to write "I KNOW WHY JESUS WEPT, MOTHERFUCKER" on the wall?
I like this movie.
My mom liked it, too.
Some of her favorite movies are Home Alone, Sister Act, and Beauty and the Beast (the Disney one).
In spite of that, you should see The Crow if you haven't done so already. Just don't go joining any little merchandise-clad subculture, OK?
NUMSKULL'S RATING: 8/10
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW:
The Good: I remember going to one of the first screenings of this movie back in '94 (even estranged creator, James O'Barr was there). The first 20-minutes of the film brought chills up and down my spine, especially the scene where Brandon's character (Eric Draven) crawls from the grave site ground. I've never seen a theatre so packed, but yet so silent during these opening scenes.
The Bad: Now, I have to remind you, that was only the first 20-minutes or so. It's all downhill from here...
It's ashamed that Brandon practically became a household name after this film. Not because he was the son of Bruce Lee. Not because he was a "great actor" (let's face it, his acting is just as good as his martial arts skills). Or most of all, not because "The Crow" was a "masterpiece".
Brandon became a household name because he was mysteriously killed while cameras rolled. It's a pity how ticket sales rapidly plunge just because thousands of people (not fans) want to see the movie that made world headlines because of a tragic incident on the set.
"The Crow" isn't exactly a well-made film. Who knows how the movie what of came about if Brandon hadn't been killed? Maybe better, or maybe just another "Brandon Lee" film? (Laser Mission? Rapid Fire?). The finished result is very similar to "Game of Death" (an unfinished 1973 Bruce Lee film that was finished in 1978). You know - choppy editing, body doubles with shadows on their heads, low quality special effects pieced together just to get it rushed out for the curious audience ($$$).
Now, I'm not saying that they should of never released it. I just think they could've put more effort into it. Maybe some special effects worth talking about (I wouldn't be surprised if the "healing hands" scene was done on a Commodore 64!). Now, I'm no movie producer and I don't claim to know anything about the business. But I can tell you one thing, knowing that this was gonna be Brandon's "farewell" flick, I would've put much more into it than these guys did.
Many fans will get angry with me when I say that Brandon is a below average actor. It's just my opinion and I stand behind it 100%. That doesn't meant I never liked the guy, matter of fact, I loved him and kept a strong separation between him and his father. His screen presence carried him great and I'm sure he would of improved and made better films along the way. Here's some advice: If you wanna see Brandon's best work, watch Ronny Yu's "Legacy of Rage". Now that's a movie.
Bottom Line: A very sad movie, both plot and production.
Footnote: "The Crow" was actually supposed to be a darker, more violent film, but after Lee's fatal on-the-set death, producers lightened the story so it would work as a "swan song" for Brandon.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 5/10