Fires and distant sirens scatter across the city in a haze of smoke from arsonists, tonight is the infamous Devil’s Night (30th October). The Crow follows the belief that when a departed soul carries a terrible sadness, and resolve to punish those responsible. A mythical crow will resurrect that soul to enact this punishment, for the untimely demise of themselves and loved ones. Unfortunately, protagonist Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée Shelly Webster (Sofia Shina) become victims of a gang-related murder.
The film tells the story of Eric, as he begins his path of vengeance one year after his death. Although it’s not clear as to why he was resurrected a year later and not shortly after. Lee’s acting was impressive, despite the actor’s demise during production due to a misused prop. He captivated appropriate reactions to coming back to life, reliving the trauma of their deaths, and expressing appropriate anger. There is strong character development and exploration, focusing on flashbacks of Eric’s relationship with Shelly. He also seeks closure with their friend Sarah (Rochelle Davis), and Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson) whom investigated their murder.
Eric maintains a paranormal persona, to unnerve friends and enemies for his own amusement. By sneaking up on them, jumping out of windows, and even calling bluffs when held at gunpoint. Contributing to moments of dark slapstick comedy, and humorous dialogue of puns and dark humour between characters.
A gothic theme presides over the film, from dark, gritty environments, to alternative clothing and Edgar Allan Poe quotes. The positioned objects in most scenes and the soundtrack also contribute to this theme. The soundtrack comprises of various rock genres and an underground presence in multiple scenes by performing artists. Fight sequences are well-choreographed, and are realistic to the situations portrayed, since Eric is meant to be an inexperienced fighter despite Lee’s background in martial arts. This makes the tension more evident when he engages with hardened criminals.
The Crow is an enjoyable experience, recommended to those with a love for the gothic and darker themes of films, showcasing Lee’s skills as an actor in what would be his final role. Various CGI and camera/special effects bring Eric’s powers to life, considering the time of production, these effects have good quality. Although the pyrotechnics are a mix of impressive and potentially overkill in some scenes.