It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost twenty years since the release of Brandon Lee’s final film, but here we were with a brand new release of his landmark film “The Crow.” In a long overdue treatment it deserves more than most titles out on the Blu-Ray format as we speak “The Crow” hasn’t shown wrinkles at all. “The Crow” is a film that garners a soundtrack with some of the most notable rockers of the nineties, along with some rather of the decade colloquialisms, and still manages to feel completely and utterly timeless. That’s because the world Alex Proyas shapes in his 1994 masterpiece is void of shape and time.
It’s a world draped in perpetual darkness, where evil reigns, and a force for good has taken on the shape of evil to strike down the violent nature of its ilk. We’ve made no secret to express our deep utter love for “The Crow” in the past. We’ve written pages on pages about the story, the subtext, and the legacy left behind by Brandon Lee as an actor and performer. His work as Eric Draven in the Crow guise is not only acting but performance art. It’s masterful miming and donning the persona of a twisted broken spirit whose own body is a shell that was tarnished by pure relentless evil and hatred. In this crisp restoration the film looks absolutely beautiful and Lee’s performance is about as resonant as it ever was.
From the confines of the darkness emerges some beautiful performances that stand beside Lee’s own, with Michael Wincott presenting a dark and complex villain who shrouds himself in the shadows hiding in an ivory tower with his twisted sibling as played by Bai Ling. He emerges only when the undead warrior interferes in his affairs for better or for worse. Before “The Dark Knight” practiced in making its villains an equal presence with the hero, “The Crow” succeeded in that very practice, offering a villain who is every bit as threatening as the hero, despite not garnering any supernatural powers to fight his foes with. “The Crow” is very much a journey in to the darkness of this city where Draven systematically and strategically eliminates his foes at every turn and seeks to avenge his loved one in the rubble and bloodshed.
In every essence it’s a pure horror film, but a gothic romance as well. “The Crow” almost twenty years later is still a tour de force of a genre film with the excitement and suspense still very much in tact. What keeps the film alive beyond the ace production values is Brandon Lee’s remarkable performance. It’s gut wrenching to think Lee had so much more to offer and can’t any longer as “The Crow” is still a deeply gorgeous and wonderful action horror film that will undoubtedly stand the test of time. Watching it for the hundredth time hasn’t worn its quality at all. It’s a masterpiece of contemporary genre filmmaking and I love it to death.
The Blu-Ray comes with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and in widescreen format. Among the special features on the Blu-Ray there is a Digital Copy, along with an audio commentary from director Alex Proyas who oversees the technical aspects of the film’s making, working around Lee’s footage. There’s also a Behind the Scenes Featurette that ports over old footage from the initial VHS release, as well as mixing in new interviews with the producers and director Proyas. There’s “A Profile of James O’Barr” that features a candid thirty minute interview with the man who invented The Crow premise who discusses his troubled life as an orphan and his history with art and anatomy.
Along with that there are a series of extended scenes, a montage of deleted footage from the original cut of “The Crow” featuring a character called Skull Cowboy, a gallery of ads from the original press coverage for the film, a still gallery from the production designer, a gallery of script boards, and the original theatrical trailer. Still as excellent after one hundred viewings, “The Crow” is a timeless gothic action horror film with brilliant writing, brilliant performances, and an absolutely excellent director behind the camera to deliver a truly gut wrenching tale of revenge. You’d be a fool not to grab on to the Blu-Ray.