Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Crow: City of Angels (1996)

"The Crow" is one of my favorite genre movies from the 90's. A tale of revenge in the name of love, it was meant to be a star vehicle for Brandon Lee, who tragically, was killed during filming. The movie proved to be a hit in theaters and especially on home video, but the idea of a sequel didn't seem like the best idea in the eyes of the many. Nonetheless, one was made, it tanked, and it got bad reviews, though it's since gotten something of a cult following.

The story goes something like this: Ashe Corven (Vincent Perez) has come back from the dead thanks to a crow, and wants revenge on Judah (Richard Brooks) and his cohorts for the murder of his son, and gets some help from a now grown up Sarah (Mia Kirshner.)

That's about it as far as plot goes. One of the biggest problems the movie suffers from is the fact that it really doesn't have any reason to exist. The whole thing feels less like a sequel than it does a an unnecessary retread of very similar material instead of something fresh. The script is also problematic, with little information given about Judah and his rogues gallery of villains, or the rest of the supporting cast (Including Noah, whose played by the one and only Ian Drury.) Then there's Ashe Corven himself. Sure, it's easy to sympathize for the guy, but Perez is awful here, delivering bad one liners and acting more as a charisma vacuum than anything else. I'd complain about the bad CG, but Hollywood studios hadn't figured out how to use such technology yet, though that's no excusing the "death by crows" scene.

All of that out of the way, there are two things about this that save it from being unwatchable. For one thing, I like the rest of the cast. Kirshner does a fine job (and it easy on the eyes to boot) Brooks and Iggy Pop (yes, that one) ham it up in the right way, as does Thomas Jane and Thuy Trang (aka Tina from "Power Rangers.") Also, there's something kinda amusing about seeing a girl from that show in black leather and lace as a hit woman. I also really like the look of the movie, as director Tim Pope (a music video director-this counts as his sole directorial effort in film) and cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier (whose credits include "Nurse Betty" and "Good Will Hunting") create a world drenched in red, orange and gold colors with sex and violence at any corner, which adds to the atmosphere of supernatural vengeance vs. human decay and evil.

That's not enough to save the movie from itself though. The end result isn't what I'd call unwatchable, but little of it is what I'd call particularly good. We did get two sequels out of this-one got a small theatrical release (by that, I mean it played in one theater), whilst the other went straight to DVD. There's been a proposed remake for a while though, so I guess you can't keep a good crow down.

Rating: 4.5/10

Interestingly enough, there were two proposed sequels that never came to be. The first was going to be the writing/directing debut of Rob Zombie. That one had the title "The Crow 2037: A New Age of Gods and Monsters", and dealt with a man who comes back from the dead to seek vengeance against a Satanic Priest. The other, "Lazarus", would have given the series a Hip-Hop makeover, and was set to star DMX and Eminem.

Oh, and since the soundtrack plays an important part of these movies-there's some good tunes from P.J. Harvey, Tricky w/ The Gravediggas, White Zombie and Deftones. The rest of it ranges from forgettable to just plain bad-the less said about Bush's cover of New Order's "In a Lonely Place" the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment