|Yeah, like that, but less awesome. And with more practical pants.|
|Bizarrely, her reaction was not "That's totally bitchin', son!"|
The Crow is the story of Eric Draven (Brandon Lee). Eric and his fiancé, Shelly, were brutally murdered on October 30th, the day before their wedding. Why? Because October 30th is Devil's Night in Detroit, and Detroit is run by complete scumbags (NOTE: that probably means that The Crow takes place before Robocop and is, therefore, a prequel). A year later, Eric crawls out of his grave because...um...magic? For whatever reason, a crow tapped on his grave and Eric woke up. Not surprisingly, he was traumatized by memories of his death and the rape and murder of his soon-to-be-wife. Quite a bit more surprising, though, was Eric's new-found ability to heal from any wound --- oh, and the fact that his body apparently healed from the sharp fall that killed him while he was rotting in the grave. Like anyone else who has risen from the dead, Eric
|That's a sad clown|
The Crow was undoubtedly Brandon Lee's best movie before his untimely death during filming. However, his career up to this point was highlighted by his prominent chin and that time he complimented Dolph Lundgren's penis in Showdown in Little Tokyo. Was Lee any good? He turns in a solid action performance, but his acting is hit and miss. He is suitably cool when playing the invulnerable Crow, but is wretched when trying to convey any emotions; when he is moaning for Shelly, Lee sounded like a drunk with a mouth full of marbles. What really makes The Crow work is not Brandon Lee, but the surprisingly solid supporting cast of villains. Michael Wincott played the unfortunately named Top Dollar, the lead baddie, and he was a lot of fun to watch. Wincott has a fantastic villain voice, and it absolutely fits the ridiculous level of evil this character requires.
|Long hair and no tie? This Top Dollar fellow is quite the rebel!|
|And it definitely doesn't look like a terrible Boy Band dance|
The Crow was directed by Alex Proyas, and was his first widely-released film. If absolutely nothing else, he took a story that could have been laughably cheesy and added enough edge to it to make it pretty cool. Proyas wasn't too impressive from a technical standpoint, but he played it pretty smart. Why mess with fancy angles or try to milk a great dramatic performance from this cast, when it is far easier to go for spectacle and overlook its inherent stupidity? My favorite instance of that comes from this scene:
Most of the time, movies with antiheroes rely on the main character to draw the audience in. What's the difference between the murderous Punisher (1989) and the murderous Punisher (2004)? Thomas Jane is actually sympathetic and Dolph Lundgren deserves everything he gets because he's a godless Communist (that is a continuation of the Ivan Drago story, right?). The Crow doesn't work that way. Brandon Lee is just too much of a ham to be truly appealing. What makes his work look good is how evil the bad guys are by comparison. When your villains are crazy bastards who live to rape and murder, you don't really need an awesome hero, as long as the bad guys pay.
|Although, let's be honest. How long were these jerks going to live, anyway?|
|"If you mention the sequels again, I will stab your face in!"|
So, yeah. The Crow is not a legitimately great movie, even with action movie standards. It is, however, a unique blend of violence, melodrama, and villainy that somehow manages to take itself seriously. That is what makes this movie work; if the characters were winking at the camera or camping it up, The Crow would be unbearable to watch. And yet...it's actually still pretty cool.
The Crow soundtrack was also a pretty good sampling of moody, mid-90s "alternative" rock. Nine Inch Nails and Stone Temple Pilots got most of the attention with their contributions, but my favorite track also happens to be the unofficial theme song to the film.