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The Crow

Alex Proyas' 1994 film adaptation of the cult classic comic series starring Brandon Lee.

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"...I Say I'm DEAD...and I MOVE!"...The Crow is Simply One of The Best Movies of Its Kind!

  • Nov 2, 2009

Director Alex Proyas made a memorable debut when he directed the movie “THE CROW” back in 1994. The film is based on the black and white comic series by James O’Barr and it is one of the best comic adaptations I have ever seen. The film may have some variations and additions from the original comic book, but it is a prime example as to how sometimes, with the right script and the right director a movie version may prove as good or maybe even better than its source material.
Sadly during filming, Brandon Lee (Rapid Fire), the son of the legendary martial arts superstar Bruce Lee was accidentally killed when a supposed dummy bullet which had become lodged in one of the guns was shot into his abdomen. This movie have catapulted Brandon Lee to superstardom even after his tragic death. The film used several digital techniques to finish some scenes after his death.
This review is Dedicated to the Memory of Brandon Lee.
Eric Draven and Shelly Webster (Brandon Lee and Sofia Shinas respectively) is an engaged to be married couple who are very much in love. They were supposed to be married on Halloween but sadly the two were brutally attacked by a gang of street thugs led by T-Bird (David Patrick Kelley) while they were committing arson all over the city. Shelley was brutally raped and murdered while Eric was shot and then thrown out the window. Eric died instantly while Shelley suffered three hours in the hospital; their deaths brought much sorrow to a girl named Sarah (Rochelle Davis) and disappointment to a cop named Albrecht (Ernie Hudson) since those responsible were never caught.
One year later, Eric is awakened from the dead as something more than human. Eric has been brought back for revenge upon those who have murdered him and his beloved Shelly. Joined by a mystical crow, Eric goes on the prowl for justice…death comes to T-Bird’s gang one by one.

“…when a soul cannot rest, sometimes…just sometimes a crow can bring that soul back, to put the wrong things right.”
The film is about revenge but mostly it is about love. The film has some differences from the original story with its subplots and additional characters but the main theme remains intact. While the original comic book was much more violent and visceral, the screenplay by David Schow and John Shirley carries a lot more emotion that gives the film a more breathing and compelling story. The are added subplots such as the slumlord, the “Devil’s Night” angle and the one with Sarah and her mother Darla (Anne Levine). Some characters have been added to give the movie much more depth and detail. Shelley was raped by the roadside with a deceased Eric present. Yes, the comic book was in essence more horrific and carried more visceral punch but the changes in the film made it work for both fans of the comic series and mainstream audiences. Alex Proyas managed to keep the overall spirit of the comic series and made it his own. 

The set designs and cinematography is the one aspect of the film that really made it stand out. The world of the Crow is shown as something made up of dark, damp alleyways that serve as a refuge for all the criminal workings in the city. There is nothing bright about the movie and the film exudes a dark and bleak style throughout; although there is a scene that represented hope (by way of sunlight) when Sarah visited Eric in his former home. “The Crow” simply looks stunning from a visual standpoint, and Alex Proyas gave its source material the utmost respect as he pays homage to O’Barr’s creation by injecting several scenes that appeared ripped from its pages.

The gang who assaulted Eric and his fiancée are truly despicable characters that they deserve what is coming to them. Although, Fun Boy (Michael Massee) was arguably more sick and evil in the comic as he loved necrophilia. Their deaths are executed as a homage to O’Barr’s original script, although a little toned down in violence. The scene with Eric being shot by Top Dollar’s (Michael Wincott) lieutenants is one of the film’s most iconic scenes. As an adaptation the film perfectly blends in several tributes to its source material. The film is also action-packed with some nicely staged fights and gunplay. While the direction opted to tone down the violence a bit they never lost the feel and atmosphere of the comic series. The music score also adds to the film 'very cool' factor. Everything about the film's mood, atmosphere and style complements one another.

     shoot out
Brandon Lee owned the role of Eric Draven. He captures the pain, the anger and the guilt of his beloved Shelley’s death. Draven is a musician and there are several scenes that show him playing his music, while some may see those scenes as being ‘COOL” (and it is) there is more to those scenes that just for minor eye candy. It was Eric remembering who he was, and how different he has become. The make up also holds significance to the main character (he looks like a mime from hell) as something memorable to Eric and Shelly themselves. The resurrected Eric Draven has some powers given him by the Crow; low-level telepathy, enhanced strength, healing powers and the habit to become really spooky. What is he exactly…a wraith, a zombie or is he something else?
Top Dollar’s girl Myca (Bai Ling) serves as the film’s device to exhibit the mysticism behind the film’s main villain. It was obvious that she and Top Dollar dabbles in the occult as they have an obsession with human eyes. The subplot with the slumlord gives the attack a little more sense rather than a random act of violence. This can work in favor of the film’s plotting whereas the comic simply portrayed T-Bird’s gang to be more eccentric, impulsive with their acts of brutality. You may say that the Eric’s nemesis in the film is a little more formidable in some ways because of the way they are led by Top Dollar. The subplot with Sarah and Darla also proved its worth as Draven’s return becomes the catalyst for the two to take a step in repairing their estranged relationship.
Thinking about “The Crow” saddens me that a man whose light had just began to shine ended too abruptly; Brandon‘s death will forever be a tragedy but he is immortalized with this film. The amazing performance of the late Brandon Lee made it an outstanding motion picture and what makes it sweeter is the fact that this is Alex Proyas‘ debut film who went on to direct the phenomenal “Dark City“. “The Crow” stands as the best film of the franchise and stands alone from its mediocre sequels and TV series. This film is just so solid and precise in its execution.
Highest Possible Recommendation! [5- out of 5 Stars]

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February 27, 2011
Next to interview with the vampire this is my favorite movie! Im so glad to find out that you love it as much as i do! Everyone i watch it with never understands the significance of the makeup they all say its to add the "goth appeal" to the film im so glad to have found someone else who understands the reinventing of himself angle. Loved the review!
June 14, 2010
YES the classic man, I love this film. Brandon would have been huge man, and dare I say bigger than his dad [at least in film and not the martial arts legend his father was]. Also did you know MMA legend Tito Ortiz is in one of the [not as great as the first] Crow films.
November 05, 2009
Great film! I used to watch this one a lot back in the nineties. I even bought my own VHS copy which got quite a bit of play amongst family & friends. When it was first released, I watched it twice in the theatres. Solid review Woopak!
November 06, 2009
hells yes! I never get tired of watching this movie. Brandon would've achieved superstardom with this film, but sadly his life ended too soon. But he still managed to achieve immortality. Thanks a lot, bro!
November 06, 2009
I loved the first two films in this series & had even heard speculation at one point that Rob Zombie would make his own sequel but I guess this was put on the back burner. That was years before we started seeing trailers for House Of 1,000 Corpses. I really liked Brandon Lee & his dad so this kinda held a special place in my heart. I never cared for any of the other Crow films after the second one.
November 07, 2009
I've been hearing news that this film would be re-booted sometime real soon; I heard that the new CROW lead would be a woman. I think this may work, as long as they don't pick a female actress who is too identified with commercial tastes.
November 10, 2009
Agreed. That idea actually would work well. I think thye should hire an unknown or maybe a indie or foregin actress to grab the bull by it's horns so to speak. If they pick Jennifer Garner or Halle Berry, I will NEVER watch it. LOL
November 12, 2009
How about Zhang Ziyi playing a female Crow?
November 12, 2009
That could work! What about Gong Li or Vivian Wu?
November 14, 2009
Li's a little older now but still hot at 45. I am thinking more along the lines of someone younger who has their lives ahead of them.
November 14, 2009
Yeah, Li does look damned good at 45. There are a slew of young Asian actresses you could prolly fit the bill. I know you've got your eyes on Jamie Chung, right? She's rather cute but I haven't seen enough of her on film to really say if she could pull this off.
November 14, 2009
I wish they could grab some Japanese actresses such as Rei Dan and Kurotani Tomoka. They are just too hot! Nope, jamie Chung is too new to pull off a superb acting job...but then again, so was Brandon during this time...Hmmm.
November 14, 2009
Hmm, I will google them. Jamie Chung might work the more I think about it. She's perky, young, & relatively new kinda like Brandon. I don't know too much about her acting experience other than Sorority Row but I see some potential there.
November 04, 2009
Of course I own copies of both RAPID FIRE and THE CROW, but it usually saddens me to watch them, so once every couple of years is about all I can manage. Nice work Woop, it deserved too be reviewed at this time of year.
November 04, 2009
Thanks, Karen. Without intending on it, I just realized that I posted this on the 1st, and Nov. 2 is "ALL SOUL'S DAY". Makes the review more special I think.
November 05, 2009
Yes it does.
November 02, 2009
Awesome job. I don't think that I'd give this a 5, but certainly a very strong 4. I wish Proyas would do another comic book film (he'd be perfect for an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" I think). I still feel "Dark City" is his masterpiece with this being his second greatest achievement, not to mention it's astonishingly good for a second film. I still haven't seen his first film "Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds". What did you think of the sequels or the TV spin-off of this film? I actually really liked the TV show, which carried on with the mood and storylines of the first film.
November 02, 2009
I actually wanted to rate this a strong 4.5 stars but seeing as how it still managed to hold up these past years, I decided to just give it a solid 5. I do agree that Proyas' best work is DARK CITY (I love that movie) I wonder what happened to his style after I saw KNOWING. I haven't seen those other films either, methinks I'll check them out. I did like the series although I felt it was a little weak on some episodes and lacked consistency. Mark Dacascos was great as the CROW but not as awesome as Brandon. You know there's a remake being planned right?
November 02, 2009
I saw "Knowing" and I liked the premise but the overt religious overtones and the acting left a lot to be desired. Still, it would have been a total disaster if anyone else had directed it, so proyas saved it from being a complete fiasco. Still, not a very enjoyable film, especially the last quarter. I heard about a reboot, but so far haven't heard about either a writer, director, or cast.
November 03, 2009
I heard that the new reboot of the CROW movie was going to have a female as the lead. Hopefully she will be someone with intense personality and done right; I hope it won't be someone with commercial roots; part of the thing that made this successful was the fact that Brandon wasn't a huge star yet. By the way, I reviewed the Japanese original of "the Ring".
August 15, 2011
By the way, I moved this to your comic book community from your fantasy community...figured it would fit more there.
August 15, 2011
Makes sense.
More The Crow (1994 film) reviews
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
its fun for all its got action right over the top of a story or true love. one of the best by the late great brandon lee.
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
Really amazing movie! I was lucky enough to see it in the theater when it was released and it made a huge impact on me. Similar but different to the original comic book but I believe Brandon Lee provided the emotional depth the movie needed. Dramatic visuals, excellent soundtrack and some very funny quotes. If you can find the last interview Brandon Lee gave before he sadly passed away. It will give you chills but the words are true!
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Worth a look if you haven't seen it in a while. Holds up well.RIP Brandon.
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About this movie


The Crow is a 1994 American action film based on the 1989 comic book of the same name by James O'Barr. The film was written by David J. Schow and John Shirley, and directed by Alex Proyas. The Crow stars Brandon Lee, in his final film, as Eric Draven, a rock musician who is revived from the dead to avenge his own murder, as well as that of his fiancée.
While filming during the last weeks of production, Lee was mortally wounded when a dummy bullet, which had become lodged in one of the prop guns, was shot into his abdomen by a blank cartridge. The film was a critical and commercial success after its release, opening at the top of the box office.
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