Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Crow: Salvation (2000)

To say that "The Crow: City of Angels" was a disappointment would be an understatement. The reviews were unkind, the box office wasn't up to snuff, and fan reaction was mostly poor. Plus, it killed off Rob Zombie's chances of directing an entry in the series, though that's probably a good thing. Needless to say, I doubt many were pining for a new entry.


We got one though, from Bharat Nalluri (who previously directed two British crime movies) in "The Crow: Salvation." I'm pretty sure that regardless of the prior film's poor performance, the Weinstein Brothers still had hope. Hey, maybe if this one is at least a moderate hit, we can get Rob Zombie to do the one he wants to do! Or, how about a hip hop version starring DMX and Eminem! Well, that never happened. Oh sure, the thing got a theatrical release. By that, I mean it played in one theater, and then disappeared a week later. Then it went to video, and few have cared about it since. Sure, it's gotten a cult following (You can't say the same about "Wicked Prayer"), but so does "City of Angels." That's not exactly good.

Alex Corvis (Eric Mabius) has been falsely accused of the murder of his girlfriend (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe.) He says he;s innocencent, and that a man with scars on his right arm is the culprit. This doesn't work out for him, he's executed, and since this is a "Crow" movie, he comes back from the grave for revenge.

"No, I'm not trying to be The Riddler."

There are a few things in the film that actually do work. Mabius, while not as good as Brandon Lee, does manage to make this version of The Crow his own without imitating the former. In fact, most of the performances here are good, though the presence of such great character actors like Fred Ward, William Atherton and Walton Goggins sure helps. Then there's Kirstin Dunst, whose the most surprising cast member here. At the time, she was something of a rising star and seemed to be the next big thing (yes, even before "Spider Man" and "Bring it On"), so my best guess is that the studio thought that she would be enough to warrant a wider release. Also worthy of note is the fact that the film manages to bring in some dark humor not unlike the first film, and the plot is occasionally more interesting than the one in "City of Angels."

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie isn't up to snuff. Probably the biggest problem is that there's no sense of style to this. Say what you will about "City of Angels", but it at least had a unique, Gothic look to it. Here, the movie just looks and feels like another generic sequel. The direction is also bland as all get out. Simply put, Nalluri doesn't know how to do an action scene, and thinks that randomly thrown in car chases and explosions will keep the viewers attention instead of character or plot development. The movie ends up feeling like it's being directed on autopilot by a man whose really not all that interested in what he's doing.

"Are you supposed to be like, scary or something?"

Then there's the fact that, like the previous movie, nothing about this feels necessary. The original "The Crow" worked as a stand alone movie, and nothing about it felt like it needed a sequel. This, like the first sequel, feels like it was made simply to get money from what it assumed would be an anxious public, but that would not be the case. That would be fine if, you know, the end result wasn't so paint by the numbers.

As a whole, I feel the same way about "Salvation" that I do "City of Angels." It has it's moments, and I can see why it has a cult following, but at the end of the day, the thing doesn't really justify it's existence. At the same time, a part of me kinda wishes that the Rob Zombie and hip hop versions had been made. Sure, they would have been bad (probably worse), but at least they would have had ambition to them.

Rating: 4.5/10

As for the soundtrack...it somehow manages to be more forgettable than the last one. Tricky, Days of the New, some electro-rock group called Sin and Monster Magnet turn in some good songs, but the rest ranges from forgettable (lame Industrial Rock, a Rob Zombie remix-seriously, what was it with Rob Zombie remixes on soundtracks in the late 90's and early 2000's?), ill conceived (regrettable covers of Bob Dylan and Ministry by Hole and Static-X with Fear Factory singer Burton C. Bell) to all around awful (Kid Rock, a Fly's song with a rapper coming in for no reason whatsoever.) It just serves as a reminder of how bad some of the music was back then.

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