The Crow: City Of Angels

on August 30, 1996 by Susan Lambert
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   Watching the tragically killed Brandon Lee play the tragically killed musician, Eric Draven, in the first "Crow" movie added an eerie resonance, poetry and a surreal kind of class to what was a fairly straightforward, dark-visioned comic-book flick. The controversy together with Lee's graceful performance transformed that 1994 film from a better-than-average cult film to a boxoffice success (above $50 million domestic) that made a sequel inevitable. But "The Crow: City of Angels" can't hold an overly symbolic candle to its predecessor. Despite poetic overtones, this film is a hack job--an overlit, underdirected, barely scripted longform music video celebrating violence and bastard amber gel.
   "Queen Margot's" Vincent Perez has the thankless job of bringing Ashe, a loving father, back to life with the help of an otherworldly crow to avenge his own needless death and the death of his young son, both killed at the brutal hands of a ruthless drug gang. Perez has a certain beauty and well-played rage, but his character ultimately doesn't deliver. Dewy-eyed Mia Kirshner ("Exotica") is a sensitive tattoo artist, Sarah, wise to the ways and needs of Ashe, who for no apparent reason has been fated to help. (Production notes suggest that Kirshner is the grown-up girl from the first movie, but you'd never know it from the film. Exposition here is either terribly clunky or nonexistent.) The requisite succession of systematic, less-than-creative killings of very bad people that follows is enlightened only by the appearance of a second-in-command bad guy, Curve, played with wide-eyed madness by punk icon Iggy Pop. The hard-ridden, hard-bitten Pop is cinematic wonder to behold with his ragged, etched face and sinewy, stringy muscles wrapped tight under a taut, gaunt and tattooed skin.
   Likewise based on James O'Barr's black-and-white comic book series "The Crow," "City of Angels" plays out in comic-strip frames and musical montages, but it wastes its visual opportunities along with its actors on increasingly repetitive shots and boring action sequences. Ultimately, this is a film without wings, so all it can do is glide on the slipstream of its predecessor, bereft of the heart and soul that rippled through the original's dark vision.    Starring Vincent Perez, Mia Kirshner and Iggy Pop. Directed by Tim Pope. Written by David S. Goyer. Produced by Edward R. Pressman and Jeff Most. A Miramax release. Action. Rated R for strong violence, drug content, language and sexuality. Running time: 85 min.
Tags: Starring Vincent Perez, Mia Kirshner, Iggy Pop, Directed by Tim Pope. Written by David S. Goyer, Produced by Edward R. Pressman, Jeff Most, Miramax, Action
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