A wrongly executed man plots to clear his name and seek revenge for himself and his girlfriend in this third entry of the supernatural action franchise
Nineteen-year old Alex Corvis has been jailed and is set for death row for the death of his girlfriend Lauren Randall. Alex proclaims his innocence, but no one believes him. On the day he is executed, he sees the real murderer, who sports an embedded tattoo in his arm. However, it’s too late and Alex dies by electric chair. However, when a crow appears on his slab, Alex is brought back to life. Taking the dead skin off of his face, he discovers the design of the avenger has been burned into his face.
Realizing that he has returned from the dead to avenge himself and Lauren, he learns the crow is his guide to find those who are responsible for Lauren’s death. Alex discovers that a band of crooked cops are responsible for Lauren’s death. At first reluctant, Lauren’s sister Erin soon learns the devastating truth behind her sister’s murder. She decides to help Alex clear his name and expose those responsible but when she is kidnapped by the mastermind behind the murder, Alex must use his full powers to make the wrong things right and live in peace with Lauren when it’s all over.
Four years after we last saw the titular bird help someone seek revenge for themselves and their loved ones, we return to the franchise with a new story and a new lead. The film keeps some of the motifs made popular by the 1994 original and its 1996 sequel. However, the film takes a different route in various ways. Director Bharat Nalluri keeps the gothic style motif in with some of the S&M bits in parts on the villains. What has changed is the look of the avenger, who doesn’t sport face paint, but rather have the design burned in his skin after getting the electric chair.
Where the biggest issue with the previous film, City of Angels, was that lead Vincent Perez looked too much like an Asylum version of Brandon Lee, Eric Mabius brings a different and acceptable interpretation of the avenger in the form of Alex Corvis. Unlike the first two films, we don’t learn much about why Lauren was murdered until well midway through the film. However, we get to see Mabius do his thing, including engage in some fisticuffs thanks to some martial arts training under the tutelage of martial artist and stuntman Dave Lea, who makes a cameo as a nightclub doorman.
Kirsten Dunst makes the most of her supporting role as Erin, Lauren’s sister who at first thinks Alex is the murderer and deserves to die. It takes one of the avenger’s powers, telepathy, to make Erin see the light and ultimately, she does help Alex in his quest for revenge and to clear his name. The actors playing the crooked cops include some familiar faces, such as Dale Midkiff and Walton Goggins, and it is instinct and rightful casting as these guys are known for playing villainous type roles and they do the job well here. While we didn’t get much of the loved ones in the previous films, we get more of Jodi Lyn O’Keefe as Lauren in flashbacks throughout the film as a puzzle to see why she was ultimately killed and why Alex was framed.
In the end, The Crow: Salvation will never live up to the original but going a new route in terms of the avenger and the story of a framed man out of revenge, makes this slightly better than City of Angels.
WFG RATING: B
A Miramax production. Director: Bharat Nalluri. Producers: Edward R. Pressman, Jeff Most, and Alessandro Camon. Writer: Chip Johannessen, based on the comic book by James O’Barr. Cinematography: Carolyn Chen. Editing: Luis Colina and Howard E. Smith.
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Eric Mabius, William Atherton, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Fred Ward, Dale Midkiff, Walton Goggins, Tim DeKay, Bill Mondy, David H. Stevens, Grant Shaud.