Horrible circumstances may surround The Crow and even elevate it in a sickeningly dark way, but those tragic circumstances that led to the death of Brandon Lee make this feature film inevitably more interesting. Donning make-up that would become synonymous with many for wrestler Sting adapting the black and white face paint, there is a seriousness lost. It does not help that the Insane Clown Posse did this also. Inherently popular among circles that are desperate to prove their cool factor, The Crow has managed to evade the darker rims of these arenas, simply by being good. Watch it and weep, Taxi Driver, this is how you inspire a set of truly misguided, foolish youths into thinking they are the creative showstopper the world is begging for.
With a child narrating childish writing, we are introduced to a horrific crime scene. Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) has plunged to his death, murdered by a ruthless gang of thugs. Who else could have done this? Its dialogue certainly leaves much to be desired. It has the grunge stylings Nirvana had made popular at the time; had it been plunged deep into the depths of Ozzy Osbourne’s wardrobe. There is nothing wrong with that, though. Lee and this cast of dangerous street criminals lean into the hyperviolence and leather jacket-clad ruminations with confidence. They do not play these now-horrible crimes against fashion off as humorous, but an iconographic choice that thoroughly captures the culture of America in the mid-1990s.
While he may be overshadowed because let’s face it, he is not a skateboarding teenager or a murder-bound deceased man, The Crow allows Ernie Hudson plenty of room to grow a tough copper persona. Sergeant Albrecht gives him the variety necessary to shed the supporting-role rut of post-Ghostbusters fame, but also present Hudson as a tremendous performer that could hold his own in movies that require a much darker, haunted presence. He is used sparingly, as much of our time is spent with Lee crashing through doors, taking bullets like a champ and throwing his pet crow at people. The Crow excels when it relies on the cat and mouse chase between seemingly uninterested hotdog hoover Albrecht and angsty The Cure fan Draven.
A revenge story through and through, The Crow leans into the harsh, glum colours of its murder-filled city and spurs a tale of overwhelming justice. It is the cold, ideal revenge those who have been wronged so cruelly wish for. Who can blame them? Draven is not so much an anti-hero as he is a deceased man looking to exact revenge on the trauma others have caused him and his bride to be. Moody and flash without having the edgy ramifications shirtless goths usually bring with them, The Crow is susceptible to a few narrative wobbles, but ultimately engages with its dark past and cursed characters thoroughly. There is a belief and trust from director Alex Proyas for this capable set of actors to set forth and bring some truly meaningful moments to this tale of revenge. How he adapts to the tragic passing of Lee, without sacrificing his artistic intention, is a fascinating experience, one that presents itself well.