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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Crow: Salvation (Special Edition)
The Crow: Salvation (Special Edition)
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 28, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Many were rightly curious about why a third "Crow" film was made after the majority of viewers (myself included) were more than dissapointed with the second film in the series. And yet, few even got to see this picture as it was released in a very small market for a short period of time - after reaction was not good, the studio decided not to go any further with the film's release, which is odd, because Dimension films has released worse films during its time - for example, "Highlander: Endgame".

Although "Salvation" isn't a great deal better, it at least is somewhat more entertaining than the first sequel - "City Of Angels". It even has better production values (according to the Internet Movie Database, "City Of Angels" had a 13m budget, while "Salvation" cost 25m). But still, it isn't able to re-create the stunning action of Alex Proyas's original feature, which also had a better performance from Brandon Lee, who was tragically killed during production. For "Salvation", Eric Mabius("Welcome To The Dollhouse") stars as Alex Corvis, falsely accused of the death of his girlfriend, Lauren Randall(Jodi Lynn O'Keefe). After his execution, he comes back with the assistance of the Crow, going on a mission to clear his name and find out who killed Lauren. Lauren's sister Erin ("Bring It On"'s Kirsen Dunst) becomes his only friend as he goes after the criminals.

The film is certainly different in many ways than the second film - where that was more of a fantasy-ish landscape, this seems at least somewhat more grounded in reality, even if it is a rather grim version of it. Mabius does not offer a fantastic performance, but he's more interesting and engaging than Vincent Perez was in "City Of Angels". O'Keefe is good in a supporting role, although we only see her in flashback. Dunst can do dramatic work perfectly well, but she needs a more fully-written character than is offered her here.

Speaking of the screenplay by Chip Johannessen(former writer for "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "X-Files"), that's where this film is sometimes the weakest. The characters really aren't fully written and some of film's dialogue seemed rather cliched and lacking in interest, originality and intensity. This results in some rather over-the-top and yet still thin characters (Fred Ward as the police chief).

There are some decent action sequences throughout the film that are fairly well staged by director Bharat Nalluri , but not in the creative and electic way that director Alex Proyas ("Dark City") did - and the violence here occasionally is a bit much. The only thing that I really found honestly haunting about the film was composer Marco Beltrami's wonderful score.

Overall, "Salvation" is somewhat more entertaining than "City Of Angels" was, but it's still an instance of a film that is visually great looking, but lacking in other areas.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Crow: Salvation" is presented in the film's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and it is anamorphic. Carolyn Chen's cinematography is excellent, and work often reminded me somewhat of Jean Yves Escoffier's work in the second film. Sharpness and detail throughout are usually very good, although there are a couple scenes here and there throughout the movie that look very slightly soft and a couple of dark scenes that look a bit on the murky side.

Still, the presentation keeps crystal clear, with the exception of a few minor flaws that pop up. As expected from an almost completely straight-to-video release, there's really no print flaws to speak of - not even a slight speckle. Some minor amounts of pixelation did pop up, but these remained minimal and really didn't cause much of a distraction.

This film doesn't use a variety of colors, like the second film did, and generally keeps with a more subtle palette of darker tones. Colors look accurate and problem-free though, and overall, aside from a few minor problems, "Salvation" looks very good. The layer change is at 1:04:25

SOUND: "Crow: Salvation" is offered in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio. Like the second Crow film, a great deal of focus and presence is given to the metal/hard rock music that is included within many scenes in the movie. Yet, the sound designers were more creative with this picture. Sound effects often come from all around the viewer, proving an enveloping and entertaining experience. During the film's handful of more intense sequences, the surrounds are definitely put into play more agressively.

Marco Beltrami's excellent, haunting score sounds fantastic throughout the movie, rich and bold, filling the listening space and really adding a great deal to many scenes in the film. Dialogue also remained clear and easily understood, with no problems. Although I was impressed by the sound use in some of the film's sequences, the film isn't consistent action and there are many scenes that are dialogue-driven. Not the most intense sound experience I've heard lately, but definitely a few highlights.

MENUS:: Similar to the menus that I've seen for the new special edition of the second film, an animated clip leads into an animated main menu, with clips and the score in the background. Sub-menus are not animated, but still, offer film-themed images well.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary by director Bharat Nalluri, producer Jeff Most, Composer Marco Beltrami, actor Eric Mabius and production designer Maia Javan. Like the commentary that I've reviewed for the second film, I liked the way that the commentary here also offers opinions from different aspects of the production, all put together to sort of form the complete picture of how the movie was made. Nalluri and Most cover the production aspects of the film, talking about the technical aspects of the picture and chatting about working with the actors, as well as putting out the occasional story from the set.

Mabius seems fairly low-key, talking about what drew him into the role and what it was like to play the role for this third feature. Maia Javan is quite informative about the look of the picture and has a lot to offer about her role and work that went into the film. Beltrami also has some interesting information while discussing his inspirations for the score in "Salvation". After listening to a couple of composer commentaries lately (such as Trevor Rabin for "6th Day") I've found listening to them discuss their work more and more interesting, and I hope they will participate more.

As with the commentary for the new special edition of "City Of Angels", some of the participants have been recorded together and some not - but all of their comments are edited together into a pretty strong commentary track.

Production Design Featurette: Not a featurette, really - more like a moving still image gallery set to music. Photos of the production & behind-the-scenes stills are presented.

Who's That Bird? Another short featurette, although an interesting one, this takes a look at the co-stars of the "Crow" movies, who have even gotten further work as a result of their efforts, such as in "A Simple Plan". Each of the birds seem to have their own little personalities, and the trainer leads us through how the birds are taught to do some of the work that we commonly see in the films.

Behind The Scenes Featurette: A pretty decent promotional featurette that takes the viewer behind-the-scenes for the making of this third feature. Although at only 8 minutes it doesn't provide as much information as the documentary offered on the disc for the second film did about that picture, this still gives us the essentials. Interviews with the cast/crew talk about the characters and story and behind-the-scenes footage shows us in a bit greater detail about how the film was made.

Behind The Makeup Featurette: This is a short featurette that shows us how the make-up was applied to star Eric Mabius each day for the character and the differences in the role of the make-up for this film.

Sneek Peaks: Trailers in this section include "Scary Movie", "Existenz", "Blackjack", "Tale Of The Mummy" and "The Prophecy 3". Strangely, the trailer for "Crow: Salvation" is not included anywhere on the disc.

DVD-ROM: Screenplay viewer & weblink.

Final Thoughts: Although not as bad as the second film, "Salvation" still has its share of problems. That won't keep Dimension from trying again, as they are reportedly working on yet another sequel to the film. As for the "Salvation" DVD, it offers very good audio/video quality, with a couple of solid extras - for those who are interested, it may be worth a rental.

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