Film Review: The Crow: City of Angels (1996)

SYNOPSIS:

Some time ago, Ashe Corven and his son Danny were killed when they stumbled across a pack of drug dealers murdering a fellow dealer. The dealers work for Los Angeles drug kingpin Judah Earl. Local tattoo artist Sarah, who has great knowledge of the crow legend because of what happened with her late friend Eric Draven, has been having dreams about Ashe and Danny. One night when a crow leads her to the scene of the murders of Ashe and Danny, Ashe appears before her. The crow has resurrected Ashe, so Ashe can go after Judah and his right hand man Curve. With the guidance of the crow, Ashe starts killing off Judah’s men one by one, on his way to Judah.

REVIEW:

The Crow series of films has had a history indeed. Though between the 4 films made, it’s only the first 2 that left any lasting impression upon me. The first as we know was a true classic that ended in the real tragedy of Brandon Lee who was shot by accident in a gun that supposed to be all blanks.

When the Crow hit, it was an instant success. Though only 2 years later and we have a follow up sequel…. a new Crow (obviously) and a new film to follow. Vincent Perez who remarkable resembles Brandon as an actor was a worthy choice. If this film doesn’t reaffirm that fact,, then I’m not sure what film you were watching. His actions, his performance and his movement were eerily similar to his predecessor. Though problems arise when a studio tries to simply redo the same premise…different day.

The City of Angels is a new film but resembles more of a reboot. The hero dies in the beginning as him and his son accidentally witness a shooting spree. The result of this is an execution ordered by the local badman who calls himself Judah Earl (Richard Brooks). The Crow is Ashe Corven who is shot with his son and thrown into the lake for dead. Though in regular Crow style, he is reborn under the power of the crow who gives him immortality to inflict revenge on those who wronged him. Call the film retribution in the form of a almost comic book like hero. Sarah (Mia Kirshner) a local tattoo artist finds Ashe as he emerges and forms an instant friendship.

Though the Crow is not here for socializing but to execute all those under Judah’s wing who get pleasure out of inflicting pain and suffering to those weaker than them. The motive is guided under a masochism style environment set within a post apocalyptic city setting plagued with drug use and excess. The set design and location is highly appropriate and believably setting a perfect stage for the plot line to play out. It is Iggy Pop as Curve who steals the show with his wacky slinky nature sporting the gaze of a madman and one who has seen way to many parties. The violence is fun to watch as Ashe inflicts a revenge killing spree that seems justified in every sense.

My impression of this film is both praise and discontent. On one hand it’s a pretty good Crow movie and fits all the expectations that one would sign on for. However where it falls short is that it is a reboot of the first film which just was done better and featured a cast that had a higher affinity to viewer audiences. The bad guy, good guy scenario seems too much like a cheaper version we already experienced. Which makes this a lesser sequel than a great follow up. We even have a seer / wizard type lady who takes on the same purpose as Crow 1. I’m not sure what happened after this film but Vincent Perez was a good enough actor as he could have taken the series to greater heights. Though when the expectations are always ended with the hero losing his crow and falling back into the un living, it’s hard to keep a hero around.

Now here is a surprise…. you will have a hard time recognizing actor Thomas Jane who plays the role of drug pusher Nemo. So much that I had to do a reflip myself just to re-identify him.

The Crow went on to 2 other films and a Canadian TV series which didn’t last long.
Crow : City of Angels is worth a watch as it’s a decent film. Take away the original Crow film and this would have stood on it’s own accord. Though there is a certain sadness left with fans of Brandon that still to this day gave the series a finality after the tragic accident in the original. Many feel that Brandon “was” the only Crow and that the films should have ended with his demise.

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