20 years ago Brandon Lee was killed in an accidental shooting on the set of The Crow.
An actor who could have had a long and very successful career after this movie was released turned down a number of low – budget action flicks and in an interview he said “(A lot of) the scripts were lowbrow and beneath doing. I wanted nothing to do with them.”
One of these lowbrow scripts on offer was Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story the previous summer of which he simply said “I don’t want to be seen as ‘Bruce Lee’s’ son and nothing more”.
The perfect way to leave his father’s superstar shadow was to do a film adaptation of this comic book, written and drawn by 21 year old James O’Barr in 1981 after he suffered his own grief when his girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver three years earlier.
O’Barr joined the US Army to try and release his anger and hatred. “There was nothing in my life but nothingness,” O’Barr wrote in 2010.
The best therapy for his murderous fury turned out to be writing this story about Eric Draven (in the film he was a rock musician), in which he and his fiancée Shelly are attacked by a gang of thugs when their car breaks down. Paralysed, Draven could only watch as the hooligans rape and murder Shelly before he himself killed.
He’s resurrected by a mysterious Crow acting as both a guide and a sort of Greek God and he demands bloody revenge on the ones who murdered him and his beloved Shelly.
This is one of the great comic book movies as it has a balanced mix of dark, gothic eeriness and some interesting variability which could be seen as O’Barr story and Lee’s personality mixing as well.
Spookily, you can see a resemblance to Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. Maybe this film had an influence, and why not?
Lee plays Eric as a madman with a split personality between knowing what he needs to do but strangely finding a fun side as well. The Crow shows what a great actor Lee would have been.
It also says a lot about the movie when after his death a lot had to be changed, including cutting characters, adding scenes, and bulking up the voice-overs. After all of that there is still one thing they need to do and that was the close-up of Lee’s face without make up and all the footage they had as handheld, very shaky, and in the rain. It shows how good the digital editing was in the early 90s and even 20 years on you still can’t tell the difference.
Also, it went on to make $140 million worldwide so it can’t be that bad.
So, if you want to watch a comic book movie with a different style, then this is your film. With lots of swearing, violence ,and creepy humor and a fantastic story, this is a movie for the boys (and the cool girls).
This is a great movie to watch during Halloween.
Take a Drink: for Brandon Lee
Take a Drink: if you can name every body organ in alphabetical order (1 Drink for 1 Organ).
Do a Shot: if you fail the above.
Do a Shot: when The Crow takes down one of the people who killed him & Shelly.
Take a Sip: when someone says ‘Shit’.
Take a Sip: every time you see a gun (if you like challenges then take 2 slips during Top Doll meeting).