Watch/Don’t Watch: The Crow-A-Thon on Netflix Instant Watch
Reviews by Greg Haymes
Thanks to Netflix, I finally got around to watching “The Dark Knight Rises,” and alas, it was just as disappointing as I feared it might be. I was bummed…
It made me yearn for a good old-fashioned, myth-based, revenge-driven, inner-city tale. Perhaps a movie like “The Crow,” which I hadn’t watched in quite a while. Would it hold up nearly 20 years later? Yes, indeed it did, and so in the spirit of the Halloween season I decided – ultimately somewhat foolishly – to launch into a full-fledged, day-long “Crow-A-Thon,” which included the three “Crow” sequels, none of which I’d previously viewed.
Yes, they’re all currently available on Netflix Instant Watch, but as evidenced by my reviews, you’ve probably got something better to do with your time. Like washing the car. Or re-alphabetizing your bookshelves by the author’s first name. Or… whatever.
Here’s the low-down on all four “Crow” movies:
“The Crow” (1994) ****:
Back from the grave on Devil’s Night in Detroit, dead rock guitarist Eric Draven (Brandon Lee, who actually died during the making of the film) and his feathered doppelganger wreak havoc on the posse of bad guys who brutally murdered him and his fiancée. Directed by Alex Proyas, it’s still one of the all-time best of the “urban avenger” films. End credits music: Jane Siberry’s haunting “It Can’t Rain All the Time.”
“The Crow: City of Angels” (1996) ***:
Noted music video director Tim Pope (the Cure, etc.) makes his feature film debut, as Vincent Perez takes over the role of the Crow. Pope captures some of the atmospherics of the original, but the film is notable mainly for Iggy Pop’s portrayal of Curve, as one of the evil henchmen. Also Brit rocker Ian Dury in a supporting role as the owner of a tattoo parlor. End credits music: Hole’s rough ‘n’ tumble rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman.”
“The Crow: Salvation” (2000) *:
The series goes right down the tubes with director Bharat Nalluri, who abandons the dark, gothic atmosphere for a crisp, made-for-TV look, and screenwriter Chip Johannessen, who replaces the delightfully over-the-top comic book villians of the first two films in favor of the cliched corrupt-cops theme. And woefully miscast, Eric Mabius portrays the Crow with none of the requires sense of danger and menace. Actual movie stars Kirsten Dunst and Fred Ward in supporting roles don’t help at all. Notable bad guy: Walton Goggins (of “The Shield”).
“The Crow: Wicked Prayer” (2005) **:
Directed by Lance Mungia (“Six String Samuari”), this is not just a decade-plus away from the original, but this woefull (and hopefully final) film is also light years away from the original both thematic and filmic concepts – starting with the decision to move the location to rural Mexico. Edward Furlong as the Crow is almost – but not quite – as bad as you might imagine, although he does manage to revive a bit of the romanticism and passion of the original. Superstar bad-guy character actor Danny Trejo is miscast as a good-guy preacher, but that’s not half as bad as casting David Boreanaz (“Bones”) as Death/Satan. Whoa, that’s not just a major misstep, it’s utterly laughable… But even that’s not as bad as casting Tara Reid in a major supporting role as his girlfriend. Who even let her audition?