To start off I think it is important to admit that this movie was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. While definitely not as good as the first one, it wasn’t close to as dumb as the fourth one (you can read my review of that crow-shaped turkey here). Eric Mabius was fun in the role of back-from-the-dead vengeance-seeking hero-type, and the story (while basically the same as the first film) had some good moments of its own. I’d go so far as to say I’d even watch this again voluntarily … if it was on TV and nothing else was on and I’d had a drink or three and wanted a nice eyeful of Eric Mabius.
The plot of The Crow(3)-Salvation basically breaks down like this: Alex has a date with the electric chair after being convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Lauren. He maintains he didn’t do it (and we kinda know he’s telling the truth since he’s the hero and all) but no one believes him and soon he’s off to meet his maker. Only a magical little birdy swoops in to change his destiny instead. Soon undead Alex is out to destroy the lives of those that destroyed HIS life. Turns out it was all part of a conspiracy full of crooked cops, twisted taxidermists, and … I’m out of alliterative things to say. Between flashbacks of his lost love, run-ins with his lost love’s sister, and taking the time for some art therapy (crows in glass! crows in blood! we’ve got crows in every format you can think of!), Alex eventually carves his bloody path to vengeance.
Remember how when I reviewed The Crow (didn’t read that review? check it out here) I said part of what helped keep it from getting campy was the sparse dialogue and lack of obvious exposition? Unfortunately I can’t say the same for Crow:Salvation. Exposition is pretty much hurled at the audience in the first few minutes of the movie, as if filmmakers were worried no one would care about anything if they didn’t shove as much back-story and explanation down your throat as possible. And the way the epic romance between Alex and Lauren is presented – in flashbacks just like the first film – is downright cheesy. Lots of spinning and swooping camera motions and kissing for long periods of time in a junkyard. You see one almost conversation, one ugly fight, and more spinny kissing, and you are supposed to believe that it is a love powerful enough to bring someone back from the dead to avenge it when it’s taken away? Hrm, not quite.
I did quite enjoy Eric Mabius’ take on Alex/The Crow (though I would never call the character that cause it sounds silly), and not just because I think the actor is adorable. Alex is a young man with a hard life who was convicted of something he’d never do. He is brutally executed (and I like the way they use his electrocution to mess up his face, instead of using more mime makeup) and comes back angry and crazed and also more than a little bit sad. He has no problem killing those that have done him and his girlfriend wrong BUT also takes time out to make a few jokes, play a little chess, and help Lauren’s sister come to grips with all the crap life has thrown at her (and boy is she gonna need therapy after finding out her dad was a crook, her sister’s boyfriend was wrongfully accused, her family friend is a psychopath, and she was horribly miscast with Kirsten Dunst).
I did NOT enjoy the way the baddies seemed to catch on to the fact that Alex was back via crow/vengeance magic. Why would it ever occur to anyone that such a thing was even possible? Where are these myths that everyone seems to be reading that explain this stuff to them? And if that dang bird is so important and necessary to keeping the magic going, WHY does it keep hanging out where it is so easy to injure or kill? Seems like poor planning on the crow’s part. I also got a little annoyed with Alex’s swanky new super powers. At one point he pretty much flies (in the shape of the arty crow he keeps leaving all over his murder scenes) off a building and I just laughed. Why would he need super powers when he is already a walking, talking, dead guy who can bounce back from shooting himself in the head?
Anyway, so to wrap up let’s take a moment to consider who wore their soundtrack better, as the soundtrack is an important component to any film in The Crow franchise. I think the one for Crow:Salvation is pretty on par as that from the first film. Filter, Stabbing Westward, The Flys, Crystal Method, and even a little Danzig help set the tone for this graphic and violent trip through nightmare land. I especially liked Rob Zombie’s ‘Living Dead Girl’ during the car chase scene. It was fun. Dark and twisted, but fun just the same.
– Mia V.
The Crow:Salvation, 2000
Starring Eric Mabius, Kirsten Dunst, Fred Ward
Directed by Bharat Nalluri
Written by James O’Barr (original comic series), Chip Johannessen
*Watch The Crow-Salvation on ThisTV: Wednesday 10/15 at 9p and Saturday 10/25 at 7p!