ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Crow 3: Salvation (2000)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Bharat Nalluri

Starring:
Eric Mabius/Alex Corvis
Kristen Dunst/Erin Randall
Fred Ward/Police Captain
Jodi Lynn O'Keefe/Lauren Randall
PLOT-CRUNCH
Alex Corvis (Mabius) is falsely accused of his girlfriend’s (O'Keefe) murder. He’s put to death in the electric chair and is brought back to life by the power of a crow. Now undead, Alex tries to grasp his newfound powers, solve the mystery of his sweetheart’s murder and seek violent vengeance against the ones responsible.
THE LOWDOWN
After the disappointing Crow City Of Angels, our undead avenger returns, earning one wing back in the process. I liked this movie a lot. First off the direction is kick arse, you want "in your face" style? You want a world that reeks of dread? You got it. This film marks a return to the original’s "noir" look, making us forget the constant orange filters of the second entry. The mood is also very close to O'Barr’s somber comic. Thank god!

The film lifts many scenes off the original but caps them off with different payoffs. The car chase scene, the rooftop showdown, the loss of powers, the graveyard scenes and the shoot out scene. Some call it imitation, I call it inspiration. The Crow films are grounded in a formula and I see nothing wrong with that, I like the familiar feel the movie gives out. You expect a certain something and the film gives you that and more.

Yes, we get new things. First off the Crow is a bit younger than in the two previous films and he copes with his situation in a slightly different way. He has a lot of fun with his powers and also has a darker streak. I had my doubts about Eric Mabius at first but I was quickly relieved. He gives a great performance, bringing to the crow character a fresh violent edge. Alex comes back with his emotions flying all over the place. Anger, insanity, sadness…all are touched…all delivered with passion.

The film is more rooted in reality than it’s predecessors and feels more real versus comic book feel. The setting is very ambiguous…I mean the film can be taking place now or in the 40’s.

For some reason I found this entry sadder than the previous two, I think that has to do with Mabius’ performance…you really feel and root for him.

The movie is also a murder/mystery that involves crooked cops and other scumbags. Adding a puzzle to the familiar plot is a wonderful idea, unfortunately that aspect of the film is it’s biggest flaw…

If you’re gonna put a murder mystery in a flick, at least try to make it a bit hard for the audience. I knew 5 minutes into the opening credits who the culprit was. It kinda of took away a bit from the film. I was always waiting for Corvis to catch up with me! (I should be the next Crow). The bad guy’s were paper cut outs waiting to get killed. They make the villains in the previous two seem like deeply explored characters. The film could’ve benefited from more Alex/Lauren flashbacks, to solidify the "love" aspect.

Another fault is that we don’t really get to know Corvis before the fact. In the first, Draven was a rock star in love who took care of Sarah, in the second, Ash was a mechanic and single father who left his drug addicted wife to be with his son…in this one…who knows? But the film’s worst flaw has to be one character’s extensive knowledge of the crow powers and rules cause he read them in a book. That minor subplot is totally unnecessary and very weak. It comes in out of left field and just doesn’t work.

Yes the script has many flaws but people forget that the original had a weak script too. For me, it’s the message the movie delivers, the grim visuals, the harsh violence and the portrayal of love as this ever lasting, beautiful thing. (I don’t see it in real life, its nice to see it in movies). Just like the original, the film is at it’s strongest when it lets the images do the talking. On a visual standpoint this flick is a masterpiece. Couple the images with a strong score and some hard hitting tunes and you get a moving, violent and sad offering. In my book this film is a step back in the right direction. It’s not perfect but it pulls the right emotional strings. Fly with me on this one…
GORE
More violent than the two previous films. The Crow likes to inflict pain upon himself and his victims. That gives way to very bloody moments ( also funny in a over the top way).. We also get lots of gun play and a cut off arm.
ACTING
Eric Mabius (Alex Corvis) is a revelation. I really got into his performance. He hits all the right keys…he’s just so real. He’s not imitating Brandon Lee and unlike Perez he plays on the characters sadness and insanity. (Perez dropped the insane vibe very early on). His performance is grounded and focused. He carries the film. And no he does not have a "French" accent (sorry Perez). Kristen Dunst (Erin) seems a bit lost here. Not as bad as people say she is but still a tad off. She’s still cute though. Fred Ward (Captain) needed to make a down payment on a new house. Jodi Lyn O Keefe (Lauren) looks beautiful but is not seen enough, more of her would have made the film stronger.
T & A
A strip club scene filled with tight butts and breast implants. The girls look good (but I'm not a big implant guy).
DIRECTING
I saw Killing Time and knew Nalluri was the perfect director for this film. The movie looks great, somber poetry in motion with wonderful shots, daring camera movements and yes…slow mo… I loved the shot from inside Corvis' mouth (that’s all I’ll say)…creative…I’ll go as far as saying that this sequel feels darker than the original.
SOUNDTRACK
Graeme Revell is dropped and replaced by Marco Beltrami. His score is different. It’s equally poetic but more sad… The score is also more to the point, more aggressive. We also get yet another rock soundtrack (Filter, Rob Zombie, Hole) that just …well…rocks!
BOTTOM LINE
Yes, the script could have used some fine tuning. But what lacks in that department is compensated by incredibly moving visuals, the ability to stimulate the viewers emotions and a splendid leading turn by Eric Mabius. If like me you relate strongly to the themes of The Crow: sadness, vengeance, darkness, pure love and bullets, you might like Salvation’s return to the Crow roots. I think the biggest test is this: Would seeing a shot of The Crow walking through the night in slow motion, the sky raining on him, the score booming with sadness, give you chills? If the answer is yes, you’ll dig this entry. It made me feel and I got chills. This is a sequel that I consider to be worthy of the original. I’m actually looking forward to seeing it again one day, hopefully soon. One more wing and this series can fly again…
BULL'S EYE
Eric Mabius auditioned for the role of FunBoy in the original. The part went to Michael Massee who wound up shooting the gun that killed Brandon Lee.

A female Crow, a medieval Crow and a hip hop Crow…stories in progress…

I saw this at SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2000 with Mabius and O'Barr in the house. I saw it with a really bad crowd of drunken assholes who laughed all the time and almost ruined it for me. I didn’t have a chance to say this then but I’ll say it now…hey guys, fuck you!! Show a little respect…you bums.
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