“Guess it’s true – guns don’t kill people. Think, uh, like maybe knives do?”
The Scoop: 2000 R, directed by Bharat Nalluri and starring Eric Mabius, Kirsten Dunst and Fred Ward
Tagline: For Vengeance, For Justice, For Love.
Summary Capsule: Ever seen a Crow movie/comic/TV show that didn’t involve a dead man (or woman) coming back to life, slapping on some makeup, and exacting vengeance for the death of a loved one? No? There ya go.
Drew’s Rating: With all due respect to our Utah readers, I’m pretty sure the list of “most noir cities” does not run Detroit, Los Angeles, and then Salt Lake City. Just a hunch.
Drew’s Review: I won’t presume to speak on behalf of my fellow Mutants, but one of the greatest challenges faced by professional reviewers lies in not allowing oneself to form predetermined conclusions about a movie based on outside sources. There’s a certain responsibility to approach each film with an unbiased mind, and so a true pro learns to shut out things like on-set rumors, direct-to-video status, and the opinions of other critics in the interest of forming his or her own untainted judgement regarding the work. It is, in some ways, a sacred obligation.
Fortunately Justin’s never paid me a single red cent, so I’m free to be as juvenilely amateurish as I want. Whee! Thus I say without guilt that based on everything I’d heard, I was pretty sure the second Crow sequel was going to be a turd before I ever saw it. Did an actual viewing change my mind? Well… no. No, it didn’t.
Since the strong central concept of the Crow franchise is also what makes every entry nearly identical, don’t be too shocked when I tell you that teenager Alex Corvis (Mabius) is framed for the murder of his girlfriend and sent to the electric chair on the evening of his 21st birthday. And when Alex wakes up hale and hearty in the prison morgue, well, maybe you’ll guess that his first priority is to find the police evidence file on his case and begin hunting down the men who framed him, both to learn why and to enact revenge. Along the way he’ll encounter his girlfriend’s little sister Erin (Dunst), who somehow doesn’t recognize him (WTF?) but eventually comes to believe that perhaps her sister’s boyfriend was innocent after all. As Alex wades his way through corrupt cops to find the
One-Armed Man man with a scar who framed him, don’t be surprised to find yourself losing interest in his by-the-book killings, the conspiracy that’s never explained to any real extent, and your growing certainty that you know exactly how it’s going to end.
If I had to sum up in one word what’s missing from Salvation, it’s style. While the core premise was and remains effective, what made the first film memorable was being set against a brooding gothic wonderland, a stylized backdrop of fog and dark rooftops sliced through by a star who could pull off insane martial arts moves while looking great in black. Strip all that away and you’re left with a twice-recycled concept that just isn’t enough to carry the film on its own. The dialogue doesn’t carry any punch, and though you can hardly fault him for it, Mabius isn’t the asskicker Brandon Lee was. (But then, who is?) When the lead character doesn’t even bother changing out of his prison togs, you know you’re dealing with a less fashionable revenant, and unfortunately down-to-earth just doesn’t work in a Crow movie. Case in point: every character in Salvation seems unable to wrap their head around the notion that the Crow could be Alex Corvis, even after he tells them who he is. That’s maybe a tad more realistic than just accepting that a dead man came back to life, but man, does it make the bad guys seem dim. And they didn’t exactly need the help.
I could go on, but I don’t want to waste my time writing and yours reading just to reiterate how much the Crow franchise is a giant snake eating itself. Salvation offers the same plot, variations on the same deaths (did we need another one where the Crow takes a victim on a joyride in his car?), same (but crappier) industrial rock soundtrack, same effort to redeem a drug-addicted scarlet woman. Alex even makes someone relive his girlfriend’s final hours of misery, though rather than using it as punishment on a foe, he bafflingly forces it on her sister to somehow convince her to embrace life. (Yeah, I… don’t know.) Everything is exactly as it was, only less; it’s essentially the first movie with a lower budget, much worse acting, terrible dialogue, and vastly inferior fight scenes. As such, there’s not a damn reason in the world to see Salvation – just watch the original again. I promise you’ll get more out of it.
- Alex’s last name, “Corvis,” is Latin meaning “to the crows.”
- Crow creator James O’Barr has been quoted as saying that while he has issues with numerous elements of the film, he enjoyed Eric Mabius’s performance.
- Toting around that knife and jumpsuit for half the movie, Alex looks more like Michael Myers than the Crow.
- In the original Crow movie, Eric Draven applied makeup inspired by Greek comedy/tragedy masks; in the sequel, returning character Sarah painted Ashe similarly in tribute to Eric. Salvation takes a more gruesome approach, with Alex peeling the burned flesh off his face to reveal the Crow markings underneath.
- This was Kirsten Dunst’s first performance in a superhero movie, soon to be followed by the far more famous role of Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man.
- Tommy: Where the [bleep] did you come from?
- Alex: Big Bang? Primordial ooze? Divine hand of a benevolent creator? All possibilities. Although recent events
- given me doubts about the benevolent creator.
Dutton: That was a [bleep]ing hollow point!
Alex: Guess it’s true- guns don’t kill people. Think, uh, like maybe knives do?
Erlich: You’re the guy who killed Dutton.
Alex: The way I see it, I want you to think of me as the guy who killed you.
Alex: The jolt- eight amps at two to three thousand volts. It lasts a few seconds. The current surges and is turned off. Then they check to see if the heart is still beating. If it is, BA-BOOM! Another jolt is applied. Experts say unconsciousness occurs before pain has time to register. They agree that electrocution does not hurt. But it does. Unimaginably – believe me. I… don’t expect a call from the governor.
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