During the first couple minutes of The Crow: City of Angels director Tim Pope’s visuals gave me a brief hope that this might be a decent film.
But then I realized that David Goyer had written this and that sinking feeling hit me. That feeling was correct.
Imagine a remake of The Crow that decides to do everything the first movie did but lousier. Imagine every character in the movie is on some combination of cocaine, Red Bull and coffee and that you didn’t care about any of them and half of them kind of talked like Thor. Imagine a movie roughly an hour and twenty minutes that felt longer than “Dances With Wolves.”
Whatever movie you came up with is more watchable than The Crow: City of Angels.
Vincent Perez replaces Brandon Lee and spends most of the movie screaming and tripping over things. Richard Brooks is the villain and the moments where he is onscreen are a waste of film. In every way, this is a remake of the original, (with less money and worse actors) which is an inexplicable decision because the first film was lightning in a bottle. You would have hoped that they would have done something original instead.
They made up for this mistake and created original stories for the sequels.
The other ones were worse.
I have my suspicions that, of all my picks on this list, this one will be the most controversial. After all, this one was given 3 1/2 Stars by late Roger Ebert upon its release. While he was definitely in the minority with such glowing praise, there are quite a few people that think this movie, for all its flaws, is not that bad.
Those people are liars.
For a brief moment in my youth, Image Comics was the hottest thing around, but not many of the titles have stood the test of time. This was for good reason; most of the titles were overblown, overwrought creations that were conceptualized back when “extreme” was a catchphrase used to sell everything from soda to tampons.
There was one notable exception, a comic that people still remember pretty fondly, and that was Spawn. Spawn was not only a well designed character, he had a really cool backstory and mythology. So, when his film was coming out, I was extremely excited to see this story come to life before my eyes.
What I saw instead was this:
Clown/Violator, as played by John Leguizamo, is flat out awful everytime he’s on the screen-which is most of the time, since he’s the primary antagonist.
But his sins are not the only ones committed by the film. The producers of this were hellbent (sorry) on making this a PG-13 affair, and the result is a film with over the top violence that wants to be shown on an airplane.
The special effects were decent, even if they were kind of ugly, But the story and acting, especially at the climax, were brutal, even from Martin Sheen.
My biggest gripe with the film is with the characterization of Spawn himself. In the comics, Simmons is, for all intents and purposes, a bad person. He deserved to be in that place, deserved to get disfigured, deserved to wear that costume, and the comic dealt with his attempts to regain his humanity as much as anything else.
The film, however, has no time for that level of nuance, and instead makes him a good guy who is sent to hell for his participation in his boss’ black ops for the devil-which sounds even more preposterous now that I’m typing it out.
It was almost as if the director were trying to save your soul – by showing you what it was like to be in hell for 90 minutes.
As a side note: For any fanboy complaining about Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, or Idris Elba playing Heimdall, or Michael B. Jordan playing Johnny Storm, lemme ask this question honestly:
Where the hell were you bastards when Terry Fitzgerald got turned into a white man played by D.B. Sweeny?