FILM OF THE WEEK (4/1/13): THE CROW (1994)
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Sunday, March 31, 2013, was the 20th anniversary of the death of the late action star Brandon Lee, who would have turned 48 this past February. The son of the legendary founder of Jeet Kune Do and the ultimate iconic figure of martial arts cinema, Bruce Lee, Brandon had high potential, exhibiting his own unique strength, technique and on-screen charisma with his own roles in his films in his short career before his untimely death in 1993.
One of those films was the 1994 mainstream breakout action hit, The Crow, a film based on the 1989 underground comic book by James O’Barr, about a mystical crow that emerges from the shadows to resurrect a musician back from the dead to pursue vengeance and justice. The film was ultimately Brandon Lee’s last film, as he died from a fatal gunshot while filming one of his remaining scenes after shooting most of the movie. The film was written by David J. Schow and John Shirley, and directed by Alex Proyas, who was able to complete the film with the blessing of the Lee family, Brandon’s fiance Eliza Hutton, and a little more help from the studio, in addition to the stand-in work of stunt performers Jeff Cadiente and Chad Stathelski. Among other things, The Crow became a domestic and international success with a major fan following, preceding the release of three more films with lead actors Vincent Perez, Eric Mabius and Edward Furlong, a television series starring Mark Dacascos, and a reboot that is currently in development hell; the last known update was the now debunked rumor that actor James McAvoy would be donning the all black goth outfit and make up. (I’ll keep you posted on the reboot if anything else materializes)
While I find it almost grim that Brandon Lee’s death is so heavily centered in the development, story, vision and commercial success behind The Crow, Lee’s passing doesn’t necessarily demean the greatness of this film, nor its certified place as a mainstay in the history of the graphic novel action genre. With all the accolades that have sustained The Crow’s popularity through the years, there is no question as to the validity and excellence of this film, being one of the only few films where Brandon got to shine after the success of his previous film, Rapid Fire. It is with The Crow that Proyas’s vision for a live-action take on O’Barr’s work exhibits pure, raw, full fledged creativity to create a film centered around a hero who happened not to be the average high-flying, fast car driving, cape wearing protagonist. Brandon Lee, invokes sheer, natural talent and veracity in adapting to the character, Eric Draven, for a story heavily influenced by goth culture, music and a vision that transports the viewer into a world illuminated in darkness and surrealism with a prevelant and spiritual sense of awareness. In all its humility, majesty and esoteric beauty, The Crow is more than just a tragic hero, but a transformative symbol of life, love, and real world hope.
True story: It was back in high school here in New York City on the way home, riding the uptown E train to Queens from Manhattan with a bunch of other friends of mine around 2000 or 2001 when we all bumped into actor Ernie Hudson. He sported all black, wearing a leather jacket, tee shirt and pants, and he managed to shake a few hands before getting off the train-the moment lasted through about a minute or less, and he was out of my reach before I could get him to look in my direction. I star-stricken as I was, I will never forget the day I bumped into a former Ghostbuster, and the actor who got to share the same space with a martial arts legend who died before his time.
You can find several versions, including the special collector’s/deluxe editions from Miramax/Dimension on DVD/BluRay/Digital Copy at Amazon, YesAsia, or wherever films are sold. Click HERE to read the latest installment of Fangirl Unleashed regarding the film.
Rest in peace Brandon, wherever you are.
Photo Credits: TheCrow.com, Dawning Creates, Filmoria, Pics To Pin
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
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