Bullet Points: The Crow
If action movie have taught us anything about real life it is that human existence is a very fragile thing. We’re all gonna die someday (SPOILER) but it’s the whole “not knowing when” aspect that makes living without being in a constant state of fear possible. If you knew when you were going to die it would absolutely rule your life, therefore, it’s the ignorance of deaths eventuality that provides us these seemingly trivial joys in life that we share with others.
Brandon Lee’s character in The Crow sits down and gives Ernie Hudson a lecture on the beauty and fragility of life. He may has well have been writing his own eulogy as Brandon was famously killed during a tragic accident on set. As a fan watching this film now, it not only stands up as an action film but its lessons dealing with life, love, and loss are equally as powerful as watching Lee take 100 bullets to the chest. I’ve taken a very valuable lesson from it and I will share it with you now; take time to enjoy the moments now before they are gone. The movies we write about daily are meant to entertain us and sometimes take our minds from life’s problems, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t also learn from them as well. Whether you’re watching a film about anarchist rapists setting things on fire, or the newest Little Rascals remake, being able to live in the present is its own gift.
The Gist: The tragic deaths of Eric Draven and his girlfriend Shelley at the hands of a gang of thugs causes Eric’s magical rebirth which is fueled by the mysterious power of the crow. Now, one by one, Eric Draven will get his vengeance on those who stole everything from him.
The Cast: Brandon Lee’s emotional intensity is the true star of this film. It is based on a James O’Barr comic and while it does share some things with the book that it originates from, this film is very much a product of the combination of Lee and first time director Alex Proyas. The movie is grim as shit, far darker than other comic book films out there today, but the performances by the leads and Ernie Hudson make this a personal favorite of mine.
The Villain: Michael Wincott has such a unique voice and delivery that he stands out as the most memorable villain to me. That is saying something because this film has an over abundance of really bad dudes in it. In fact, the whole crew of bad guys do an excellent job of portraying the embodiment of evil. It probably rivals Robocop for having some of the worst villains/henchmen in an action movie. If the young girl is a symbol of hope in this horribly bleak setting then Wincott and his men are the ultimate evil, sent to destroy and extinguish all good.
The Action: Brandon Lee had shown during his short career that he could do more than just handle an action scene in a movie. His work in Showdown in Little Tokyo and Rapid Fire were obvious signs that he was destined for action greatness. This movie was going to be his stepping out into more dramatic roles and its success would have most likely propelled him into stardom. He adds his own flavor for a role that was originally meant for Johnny Depp, and improves on it in my eyes. I’m not one to wear tight-ass leather pants and fingerless gloves but that sissy goth/emo shit is pretty damn cool in The Crow. The various villains also give Eric Draven an opportunity to get weird with each of their deaths and I especially liked T-Bird’s swan song.
How bout some more Bullet Points:
- Sting !!!
- Although he was not a fault for Lee’s death, actor Michael Massee (Funboy) stopped acting for a year and still, to this day, has never seen the film.
- James O’Barr stated on the DVD that the studio originally wanted to make this a musical starring Michael Jackson.
- Lee would apply his own makeup every night before going to bed to insure that it looked worn the cameras the next day.
- The line “believe me, nothing is trivial”, was ad-libbed by Brandon Lee.
- River Phoenix and Christian Slater turned down the role of Eric Draven.
The Verdict: Watching The Crow knowing that it was Brandon Lee’s final film is pretty sad. He was such a talented guy and this film was different enough from what he had done before that you could see his comfort and confidence growing at lighting-fast speed. I’ve been a fan of this film since the first time I saw it and not even the terrible sequels can take away from how good this first one is. This film has a perfect blend of action, heart, 90’s rock music, and Ernie Hudson. It’s magnificent.