The Crow (1994)
January 8, 2023 1:54 PM - Subscribe

Exactly one year after young rock guitarist Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancé are brutally killed by a ruthless gang of criminals, Draven--emerged from the grave and accompanied by a mysterious crow--returns from the grave to exact revenge.

Also starring Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, Rochelle Davis, Bai Ling, David Patrick Kelly, Anna Levine Thomson, and Tony Todd.

Directed by Alex Proyas.

86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Pluto. Also available for digital rental. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We all loved this when it came out, with the soundtrack, the stylish look, and the winning performance by a gone-too-soon Brandon Lee.

Rewatching it years after, the script/plot is shockingly pedestrian and mundane. Still mostly works though.

Proyas has style for miles here. Lee really is giving a notable star turn here, but less in the sense of having it figured out and more in the sense of stretching out his charisma and giving it a test drive. He might have been good one day. He isn't great here, exactly, but even aside from the sad real life ending, he's near impossible to resist.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:56 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]

It occured to me rewatching this that this movie is essentially Batman if Batman and the Joker were the same person.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:17 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]

Massive soft spot for this film, as it came out senior year of highschool and Brandon Lee was pretty much the only positive male "East Asian" representation out there in North Am.

Damned shame about what happened to Lee.
posted by porpoise at 2:26 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]

I tend to think of The Crow as "the superhero for kids for whom Batman isn't goth enough." You're correct in pinpointing that it's the style that carries the movie. Interestingly, every sequel has had a new person playing the Crow (and maybe they're separate characters? I wouldn't know), and there's a revival that's wrapped filming, with Bill Skarsgård.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:27 PM on January 8

I came to The Crow via the graphic novel and as an adaptation, it's pretty decent.
posted by SPrintF at 3:56 PM on January 8

Hands up if you were a teenager that dragged your mom to see it after you'd seen it at least three times.

(Thanks for humouring me, Mom.)
posted by Kitteh at 4:39 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]

They're all different characters in the sequels. The only crossover I'm aware of is Mia Kirshner's character in City of Angels being an older Sarah from the first film.

Great soundtrack.
posted by dumbland at 5:35 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]

Oh, yeah, this was a "just vibes" film for Gen X goths, but fit for purpose.
posted by praemunire at 5:41 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]

Thinking back about it now, it was transgressive to have a sexually desirably bi-racial Asian lead, but (maybe?) doubly so because Brandon's parentage was an Asian father with a white mother - who is depicted on screen as being in a sexual relationship with a white woman (who's brutal rape and murder causes the supernatural return of her murdered partner).

I'm glad that racism (other than systematic government policy) was brought up and dismissed - the villains depicted on purpose as being children of different mothers - and the only "cop" that the viewer interacts with is sympathetic and African American.

The various gangs were shown to be phenotypically assorted, but that was the early 90s, and possibly additional commentary on systematic oppression and intentional fragmentation forcing these "race"-based associations. Using Vancouver now as a reference point, organized crime - aside from South Asian - feels much more race-insensitive. Even the historically racist organizations (Hells Angels) have really relaxed and diversified.
posted by porpoise at 7:27 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]

This came my way in my early teens thanks to a sister who went hard Goth before heading off to college. Did it alter my life? Nah, but it definitely came across as an incredible film unlike most that I had seen before. It's now been years since I watched it last, though I've listened to the soundtrack/score on a rather regular basis. I'll even drop, "It can't rain all the time," at times.

I have to go back and look at other films popping out at the time, but I feel like it's mix of music, martial arts, and gun spitting action, was a precursor to The Matrix a few years later. Even the feel of the Matrix's city, dark, rainy, feels a bit inspired. Not to mention, you have a main character who find their existence upended by a rebirth into a trenchcoat martial arts wielding hero.
posted by Atreides at 7:43 AM on January 9

I had watched Rapid Fire (1992) so many times that I was totally psyched for The Crow and read the comic ahead of time. That moment in Rapid Fire during the mob restaurant fight where he pauses for a breath before going back to ass-kicking stays rent free in my memory.

Then MTV tells me he's died on set of The Crow and it was heartbreaking.

Watching The Crow more recently I can kind of see how the edit was salvaged with Chad Stahelski (who would go on to double for Neo and co-direct John Wick) doubling for Lee in long shots across rooftops, and the minimal basic CGI. But at the time, it felt like they'd brought him back from the dead.
posted by Molesome at 7:00 AM on January 12 [3 favorites]

It occured to me rewatching this that this movie is essentially Batman if Batman and the Joker were the same person.

Actually it's goth Robocop. (This is how I convinced my Crow-skeptic spouse to give the movie another chance, and I think he had a good time.)

Okay, yes, Robocop is a much smarter movie, but in terms of the central plot in which a murdered man is brought back in a nigh-invulnerable body to hunt down his killers and uncover the power structure behind them? Only difference is goth vs. cyberpunk. (Also, Robocop may have Buckaroo Banzai but The Crow has Jerry Horne!)

The comic book is even more repulsively goth (complimentary), including fully written-out poetry and song lyrics. It's generally understood that the movie soundtrack whips but don't sleep on the book soundtrack for a slightly different vibe. No Thrill Kill Kult but plenty of Joy Division.
posted by babelfish at 8:14 AM on January 12 [6 favorites]

« Older Doom Patrol: Hope Patrol...   |  Movie: Old Man... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments