The Crow has always carried with it a macabre mystique due to the tragic accidental shooting death of star Brandon (son of Bruce) Lee during production. (It's really easy to spot when they use a body double: If you aren't seeing his face, it's the double.) But there is more to its lasting appeal than Lee's death that's made it a lasting cultural touchstone which lead to even South Park making this crack a dozen years after its 1994 release:
Killer, huh? (In case you haven't seen the full episode, Satan shows up dressed as The Crow.)
Anyways, it's been ages since I've watched the whole movie straight through and I'd forgotten how briskly paced, almost impressionistic the first half was in spelling out the scenario of Eric Draven and this fiance, Shelly, being murdered on Devil's Night, the day before their Halloween wedding and how Eric crawls from the grave a year later and with the invulnerability that a crow grants him hunts down and kills his and Shelly's killers. There is very little extraneous stuff in the first half, though it slows a bit as the original gang of knuckleheads is dispatched and the focus switches to their master, Michael Wincott, and his half-sister (Bai Ling in her American film debut) and their interest in this interloper with mystical powers.
Director Alex Proyas followed The Crow up with the similarly dark and moody Dark City in 1998, but the new millennium saw him making lackluster films such as Big Willie vs. the Evil Robots, er, I meant I, Robot and the Nic Cage Doomsday bum-out Knowing. The rain-soaked, monochromatic nighttime setting is pretty well rendered in this Blu-ray transfer. There was a little noise in the reds of the first optical shot showing the crime scene in the miniature's window, but it was isolated to there and it generally looks good and clear with all the black and black imagery. The audio was less impressive, but more a limitation of the source track than a problem with the disc.
On the extras front, I didn't listen to the Proyas commentary yet or watch the 33-minute interview with a seriously twitchy creator James O'Barr, but the archival interview behind-the scenes was interesting and sad as you realize how articulate and intellectual Lee was. The Extended Scenes are better described as Rough Cut First Edit Scenes as they feature much more violence, especially the addition of a poor woman at the arcade T-Bird and boys are introduced blowing up who is terrorized and left trapped in the exploding building.
The Crow isn't a flawless or unqualified "great" movie, but as a mood piece and Goth-comic touchstone it's got its merits. This new Blu-ray is available for around $10-$12 if you know where to shop, so there's no reason for fans to skip adding it to their collections.
Score: 8/10. Buy it.