Revisited: The Crow

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

On October 30, Devil’s Night in Detroit, Police Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson) is at the scene of a crime where Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas) has been beaten and raped, and her fiancé Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) then died on the street outside, having been stabbed, shot, and thrown out of the window. The couple were to be married the following day, on Halloween. As he leaves for the hospital with Shelly, Albrecht meets a young girl, Sarah, who says that she is their friend, and that they take care of her. Albrecht tells her that Shelly is dying.

One year later, a crow taps on the grave stone of Eric Draven; Eric awakens and climbs out of his grave. Meanwhile, a low level street gang, headed by T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly), is setting fires in the city. Eric goes to his old apartment and finds it derelict. He has flashbacks to the murders, remembering that those responsible were T-Bird and his gang: Tin Tin, Funboy, and Skank. Eric soon discovers that any wounds he receives heal immediately. Guided by the crow, he sets out to avenge his and Shelly’s murders by killing the perpetrators.

The crow helps Eric locate Tin Tin; Eric kills him and then takes his coat. He then goes to the pawn shop where Tin Tin pawned Shelly’s engagement ring the year before. Eric forces the owner, Gideon, to return the ring and blows up the shop, letting Gideon live so that he can warn the others. Eric finds Funboy with Sarah’s mother, Darla. After killing Funboy, Eric talks to Darla, making her realize that Sarah needs her to be a good mother. He visits Albrecht, explaining who he is and why he is here. Albrecht tells him what he knows about Shelly’s death and that he watched as she suffered for thirty hours before dying. Eric touches Albrecht and receives from him the pain felt by Shelly during those hours. Sarah and her mother begin to repair their strained relationship. Sarah goes to Eric’s apartment and talks to him. She tells him that she misses him and Shelly. Eric explains that, even though they cannot be friends anymore, he still cares about her.

As T-Bird and Skank stop at a convenience store to pick up some supplies, Eric arrives and kidnaps T-Bird. Skank follows the pair and witnesses Eric killing T-Bird; he escapes and goes to Top Dollar, a top-level criminal who controls all the street gangs in the city. Top Dollar and his lover/half-sister Myca have become aware of Eric’s actions through various reports from witnesses. Top Dollar holds a meeting with his associates where they discuss new plans for their Devil’s Night criminal activities. Eric arrives looking for Skank. A gun fight ensures the deaths of nearly all present, with Eric succeeding in killing Skank. Top Dollar, Myca and Grange, Top Dollar’s right-hand man, escape.

Eric, having finished his quest, returns to his grave. Sarah goes to say goodbye to him and he gives her Shelly’s engagement ring. She is then abducted by Grange who takes her into the church where Top Dollar and Myca are waiting. Through the crow, Eric realizes what has happened and goes to rescue her. Grange shoots the crow as it flies into the church, making Eric lose his invincibility. Myca grabs the wounded crow, intending to take its mystical power. Albrecht arrives, intending to pay his respects to Eric, just after Eric is shot and wounded. Top Dollar grabs Sarah and climbs the bell tower as a fight ensues, with Grange being killed. The crow escapes Myca’s grip, clawing her eyes and sending her down the bell tower to her death. When Albrecht is wounded, Eric climbs to the roof of the church on his own. There, Top Dollar admits ultimate responsibility for what happened to Eric and Shelly. In their fight, Eric gives Top Dollar the thirty hours of pain he absorbed from Albrecht; the sensation sends Top Dollar over the roof of the church to his death. Sarah and Albrecht go to the hospital, and Eric is reunited with Shelley at their graves.

REVIEW:

In the early-mid 90s, there was a movement to be moody and depressed…goth if you will. One of the films that came out and helped strengthen this movement was The Crow. In the years since then, there has been a cult classic status has been achieved by this picture, but I wonder if it is really worth it.

What is this about?

Exactly one year after young rock guitarist Eric Draven and his fiancée are brutally killed by a ruthless gang of criminals, Draven — watched over by a hypnotic crow — returns from the grave to exact revenge.

What did I like?

Sting. In the late 90s/early 2000s, I became a fan of professional wrestling for a second thanks to the likes of The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg, and Sting. Why do I bring this up? Well, the first couple of times I watched this film, I didn’t really pick up on the similarities, outside of the face paint, but watching it tonight, I noticed the dark avenger persona Sting has been using in WCW, TNA, and now WWE comes from this film. You may scoff at that being a part of its legacy, but take a minute and think about how global wrestling is and to think that Sting has kept his character, which was based on this film, going for so long blows the mind!

Who you gonna call? Ernie Hudson never really got a chance to do anything in the Ghostbusters movies, but in everything else I’ve seen him in, the man has really shown he has some acting chops. It makes you wonder what kind of ectoplasm was holding him down in those classic films, doesn’t it? I like that, in this picture, he plays a cop with a heart of gold. A man who will do anything to protect his beat. In this day and age when police officers are just randomly beating, shooting, and killing anyone that looks at them wrong, it is a breath of fresh air to get that from a boy in blue. Shame that the real police can’t follow suit!

I am the night. 99% of this film takes place in the night. Why is this important? Well, think about the character of the crow. Does this look like someone who would do well in the middle of the day? No, but in the middle of the night and he flourishes. Unlike all 5 Spider-Man movies, the filmmakers knew what the time frame our hero works best in is and they used that to his advantage.

What didn’t I like?

Scum and villainy. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, a good hero needs a good villain. The Crow, at least in this outing, doesn’t have one. I’m not saying he needs a name villain such as the Joker or the Kingpin, but someone who poses a threat to more than just a neighborhood block. The antagonist we are given is nothing more than a bully who happens to have hired thugs. Honestly, the thus are more intimidating than him. If he didn’t have the long hair, I doubt he’d even have been the one in charge! Ha!

Bye, Ling. Funny thing, Bai Ling is actually a normal character. Something must have happened to cause her to lose a few screws because everything of note that she has been in after this, the woman has been muy loco en da cabeza! Take Crank: High Voltage as an example! That isn’t why I bring her up, though. She seems to be learned in some sort of mysticism, but we never see that, other than her knowing the significance of the crow.

Candyman. Tony Todd is an intimidating presence, both in terms of his looks and stature, as well as his deep, booming voice. So, tell me why is it that this man is relegated to being a right-hand man? I would say this is one of his early film roles, which would allow me to forgive his lack of leading man ability, but this man been around since Platoon, if not longer! Maybe the filmmakers should have had a crossover, especially considering Todd’s success in Candyman. Can’t you see it? The Crow vs. Candyman? Fight to the…whatever it is that comes after death.

So, what is my final verdict on The Crow. To be honest, I don’t really see the lasting appeal, nor do I see why everyone is so in love with this picture. That being said, I appreciate the performance given by Brandon Lee, it is just too bad that we never got to see how far his star was going to rise. The action here is enough to appease those that don’t want to just watch someone brood for 2 hours. I feel as if the mother/daughter relationship as well as some more back story on our titular character would have added a little something to the picture, but that’s just me. Overall, I do think this was a decent picture and I would recommend it to those that are interested.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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