(Air Date: Week Of 9/4/96)
Have you ever seen a sequel that was better than the original? It's rare, but it happens. James Cameron's "Aliens," for instance. More often, though, a sequel is just a way to squeeze more money out of a familiar idea. That's the way it is with "The Crow: City of Angels."
When "The Crow" came out in 1994, it was helped at the box office by the controversy surrounding Brandon Lee's accidental death on the set. Lee's breakout performance, in combination with the dark settings and the fast-paced action all added up to a fan favorite.
Lee was (ahem) unavailable for a sequel, though, so the producers came up with an interesting idea. Since the Crow is the incarnation of justice and revenge, anyone can embody The Crow, you see, as long as they look the part.
So they threw a bundle of money at Vincent Perez to take up the mantle. Perez has enough presence to share the screen with Catherine Deneuve in "Indochine" and Isabelle Adjani in "Queen Margot," and he definitely looks the part, with his KISS-style makeup, motorcycle and leather duster jacket.
But they forgot something important, like a plot. "City of Angels" is so thin, you could tell the whole story in a music video and still have room for an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. To make up for it, first-time director Tim Pope pumps up the volume, adds several scenes of fuzzy erotica and violence (not to be confused with action), and long close-ups of a miscast Mia Kirshner saying groundbreaking lines like, "I want to help you."
Kirshner's character, Sarah, is apparently the only link between the original and its sequel, but of course the link goes unexplained. The main villain, Judah, played by Richard Brooks, is unconvincing and just plain overacted. At least Iggy Pop, as a stooge named Curve, looks like an evil character, but that might not be acting.
"The Crow: City of Angels" is ultimately forgettable, all style and no substance, the kind of movie that can make a big splash but not leave anybody wet.
Copyright 1996 Alex Lau
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