Sunday, September 08, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—The Crow: City of Angels (1996) *

R, 84 min.
Director: Tim Pope
Writers: David S. Goyer, James O. Barr (comic book series and comic strip)
Starring: Vincent Perez, Mia Kirshner, Richard Brooks, Iggy Pop, Thomas Jane, Vincent Castellanos, Thuy Trang

So “The Crow” wasn’t really a great movie, but it came at the right time to be a not so great movie. Everybody was trying to capture the comic book blockbuster bucks that rained down on the “Batman” movies in the 90s. “The Crow” was cheaply made and turned a profit, so the studio quickly churned out a sequel, despite the tragic death of the first movie’s star. Then the direct-to-video sequel craze hit the studios, and somehow they were able to justify two more sequels.

I’ve seen sequels that were pretty much carbon copies of the original, but never to the degree of the “Crow” series. Here are the differences between the plots of this movie from the first one. They removed the storyline about the cop and the street kid, and the guy resurrected as the Crow is avenging his and his son’s death as opposed to his and his fiancé’s death. That’s pretty much it. Everything else is exactly the same.

Stylistically, the direction lacks the best element of the original movie, which was video director Alex Proyas’s energetic use of false sets as opposed to location shooting, his dark cinematography, and his unique, twisting camera work. The only of these that Tim Pope is able to recreate to any degree is the lighting. Even that lacks Proyas’s spark. The fight choreography is also lacking compared to the first film. In fact there really isn’t much in terms of hand-to-hand combat here, which was a draw for the Brandon Lee-starring first film.

Just what is the point of making such an inferior copy? Or three of them for that matter?

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