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Review The Crow (1994): Has not aged well!

genre: comic book adaptation, fantasy, action, crime

When the news had reported that Brandon Lee had died in an unfortunate incident while filing The Crow, I was devastated. I really loved the guy. He worked so hard to get under the shadow of his father to only meet the same fate as he did. I truly believed had Brandon Lee not been killed, he would have been a huge star today.

Of course, his death made me look different at the film. Especially since its themes struck so many cords with the tragic event. It did give the film an edge. But now, so many years after, I do have to admit that The Crow is not as good as I remember. One could argue that it's even pretty bad. If I think about it, even then I thought there were some problems. Although I managed to overlook them because of the emotional factor. So what are these problems? Well, for one thing, the pacing. It's horrendous. It takes Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) far too long to deal with his murderers. From what I understood, he had one night to act out his vengeance, but didn't seem aware of this fact. A sense of urgency would have perhaps also instil fear and dread into the villains. For the most part, they don't seem to be that impressed. Then the lack of real good action and spectacle. It's serviceable, as it gets the point across. But it's rarely cathartic, satisfying or entertaining. Better editing could have solved this issue.

Another big problem is the fact there isn't that much to the story. And I know some of you are going to say, what did you expect? It's a revenge film. You don't really need a fleshed out story. I don't completely disagree with this notion. However, if the film had shown us more of Eric and Shelly before their demise, I am sure the impact would have been more substantial and hard-hitting. Sure, it's terrible to witness the atrocities that are inflicted upon them, but you know nothing about them. It's expected of you to assume that Eric is grief stricken and therefore uses his time to get from one goon to another. Only in one scene, Eric mentions that Shelly was focused on details. Basically saying how important certain moments were, they shared. It's an important element of grieving, and yet this is the first time Eric ponders on this.

Thankfully, Brandon Lee did manage to show what he was capable of acting wise. He did a lot with so little. Because of him, you get a very good idea of what has happened to him and his fiancĂ©e. In that regard, had you put in someone else, this film would not have worked at all. Ernie Hudson, like always, elevates any film with his presence. He gives it the credibility it needs. Actually, he is one of the few in the film who grounds events. The villains in the story are a little disappointing. I am very aware that the first time I watched this, I was more impressed with them. Only now I kept waiting for them to be brilliantly evil, only to be let down. Yes, the dynamics between Top Dollar (Michael Wincott) and Bai Ling (Myca) are weird and a bit creepy. But they aren't that menacing. 

I do remember being more enthralled with this film because of the violence on screen and implied. Now it barely registers. The soundtrack does help drama wise. But overall, the film will only be decent for first time watchers. For people like me who have seen this one multiple times, the film loses a lot over the years.

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