The Crow: City of Angels

03/28/2020 14:29

Film: The Crow: City of Angels

Year: 1996

Director: Tim Pope

Writer: David S. Goyer

Starring: Vincent Perez, Mia Krishner and Richard Brooks



This movie I saw pretty close to when I watched the original I believe right after college. I didn’t think it was all that great and wasn’t thrilled to give this a rewatch. I didn’t remember much from it, but I will say there are some pretty solid names in it that I noticed when the credits were rolling. The synopsis here is the spirit of the Crow resurrects another man seeking revenge for the murder of his son.

We start this off with getting an off-color look at what happens to Ashe Corven (Vincent Perez) and his son Danny (Eric Acosta). They’re murdered by a group of criminals and then thrown off the pier. Sarah (Mia Kirshner) was having the nightmare of what happened to the two. She’s a painter and she’s working on one of a man with many faceless people behind him, crouched and holding the body of a woman. Sarah is also a tattoo artist along with Noah (Ian Dury). Sarah also has an interaction with a homeless girl, Grace (Beverly Mitchell), who she offers to get food and coffee for. It should be pointed out that Sarah is the little girl from the original film all grown up.

The criminals that we saw earlier all work for Judah Earl (Richard Brooks). He’s having a meeting of his best members where they kill one for not producing like they should. He tries to claim it was a bad batch of drugs and to prove this, they test it on that man. It kills him so they learn he was right. The others though are Curve (Iggy Pop), Nemo (Thomas Jane), Kali (Thuy Trang) and Spider Monkey (Vincent Castellanos). Judah also has a blind woman Sybil (Tracey Ellis) who is an oracle. She tells him prophecies to help keep him alive.

Sarah is brought to the pier where Ashe was killed and he wakes up in the water. She brings him back to her place to help him and informs him that the Crow has returned him to life to seek revenge for what happened to him. She paints his face similar to that of Eric from the original, which is similar to the theater masks from the past. Ashe first seeks out Spider Monkey to learn all those that were involved with what happened to him. Judah is alerted to this though through Sybil and tries to find a way to stop this avenging spirit.

I want to lead this part of here stating that I really like the original film. I didn’t actually see it until after college and probably right before I saw this film for the first time. I could tell that there was a pretty noticeable step down even back then. Now watching this with a critical eye, I still feel similar, but I’ll start with what I liked here first though.

The first thing is that I like continuing on with the mythology of The Crow. This film doesn’t really introduce anything new though. The only difference here is that Ashe and his son were murdered instead of a man with his fiancé. I like that it is establishing that it can extend its powers to others in a similar situations. This is also interesting that Sarah is the same character from the first film, so it is good to have her as the bridge for continuity. Going along with the powers of this character, at the end we do see our character briefly losing them, which this being a semi-super hero/comic book film, you should probably know something like that will happen. Here though, we do see our villain becoming stronger and I like that they play with this to be a bit different. Having Sybil to relay the supernatural is something that works so we can get how this movie plays out.

Something that is both a positive and negative for me is where this movie takes place. With the name, I could tell that this is supposed to be Los Angeles. I did read that the look of the city is a hybrid of LA from the 1920s and 1940s. This gives it an odd feel which did work for me. The feel is also like we’re seeing a legend play out. We have modern things like guns, but we have a supernatural force bringing back a man who’s been killed and seeking revenge. The villains are listening to an oracle and I got a vibe of seeing like a Jason and the Argonauts in modern times. I also think that the feel of the city is also not realistic. It is the Wild West with no police being in the movie. The villains are running the city so it does give like we’re seeing a Western town from that era where an unlikely hero needs to show up to clean it for the residents to finally live without fear. It does take some believability away for me though.

Going along these lines, it does have a lot of elements that I would expect me to really enjoy. I have laid out the things above, but regardless I found it to be boring. I never really connected with Ashe and for whatever reason it never held my attention. I think in part of that is The Crow version of him is just too powerful. By the time he becomes vulnerable, I’m already checked out. I also don’t think that it does the best in building the characters up. The ending is fine, but nothing to really get me excited either. I just found this to be boring overall.

This is also quite shocking as we have some really good actors here. Pop is someone that just really plays himself and I like what he does with the role of Curve. Plus is fun to see Jane as Nemo who is a pervert. He isn’t given a lot to work with and I thought Pop was just fine. Perez just doesn’t pull me in like Brandon Lee did in the first movie. He plays the role okay with the physicality, but The Crow is such a tragic character and I didn’t feel it. Kirshner is cute, but she feels underutilized as well. Brooks doesn’t feel fleshed out enough to be this evil villain he’s supposed to be. We get a bit, but it’s a forgettable performance. Castellanos and Trang are all fine as well as Ellis, but no one really stands out.

That will take me to effects of this movie. We get some practical effects and we get some CGI as well. The practical effects are fine. No issues there. We do get some really good establishing shots to give us a feel of this city that we’re living in and it really is comic book like. That takes away the realism where I feel there’s only like 50 people living in this world that we’re in. I think grounding this slightly would have helped. There is some really bad CGI in this movie as well, especially things that we get with the actual birds in the movie.

The last thing would be the soundtrack. It is hard for me to come down too hard. This is a 90’s film, with a soundtrack that feels like the era. It just didn’t really add a lot for me and I almost wonder if that is where a good portion of the budget went to. Too many of the songs are playing in the background with the words and it was distracting too be honest to following the dialogue of the movie for sure.

Now with that said, I don’t mind what this movie is trying to do, but it fell short in my opinion. I like showing us that The Crow can give its powers to someone else who has been wrong and this film follows a similar formula to the first one. I don’t mind the comic book feel mixed the Old West town, but it doesn’t feel grounded and I think we need that. I was bored for the most part. Most of the acting performances are fine, but underutilized or uninspired. The effects are hit or miss and the soundtrack fits for what they needed, but was a bit distracting for me. I found this to be below average for sure and would avoid unless you absolutely love this series.


My Rating: 4.5 out of 10