The Crow: 30th Anniversary Edition (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

A man brutally murdered comes back to life as an undead avenger of his and his fiancée's murder.

June 27, 2024 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Nothing stings more than a dark shadow hanging over a film. In the case of The Crow, most of us are familiar with the tragic story of the film. Actor Brandon Lee was killed when filming a scene because a real bullet struck him when it should have been a blank. You don’t need me to give a history lesson here as a simple internet search will provide countless details for you. There were only a few days of shooting left, but the film still had to be reworked. It’s an already dark film about a man seeking vengeance, but Lee’s death only adds to the darkness. Having recently viewed the film again for its 30th anniversary, I was surprised by how well it has held up. It was never one of my favorite films, nor was it something I would watch repeatedly, but it holds a special interest in part largely due to the lead actor’s untimely death. We can only speculate where Lee’s career might have taken him, or how this film would’ve even played out had he lived. With that said, this stands as his last hurrah. He certainly had the movie star look and physique to go far, but that wasn’t meant to be. Let’s take a closer look at The Crow.
Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) is a musician who, along with his fiancé Shelly (Sofia Shinas) is murdered by a local gang. A year later, Eric comes back from the dead as the Crow and his goal is simple: to exact revenge on those who murdered him and his fiancé. We then follow Eric as he offs the bad guys one by one. He is virtually invincible, so this makes the film formulaic in that regard. Eric dons a costume complete with makeup on his face to scare the potential victims. I did like the look of his character as it needed that element to bring some fear into the victims. It’s never boring, and the cast all do capable work, but it can be rather one-note in that regard. The cast all do nice work here, and the pacing is brisk to keep us with it. The film is certainly dark and eerie, and Lee’s death only heightens that. This was clearly a role he was passionate about, so it can be bittersweet and even frustrating to see a young life cut short in such an unnecessary manner.
While it can be hard to judge a performance of an actor who passed away before a film is released, there were times when Lee’s delivery feels off. Some of his lines seem a bit too scripted and deliberate. Certainly, he handles the physical stuff well, and it’s certainly a good performance, considering the extensive reworking that had to be done after his death. It’s just some moments aren’t as strong as the others. Still, he fills the role with the right kind of menace and intrigue to keep us engaged.

Video: How’s it look?

The 1.85:1 transfer here fills the 4K shoes nicely. Sharpness and all were on point and the extra details that 4K brings to what is a considerably dark film visually are nice. The colors all appeared deep and natural, with the right amount of lighting when needed.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track has the expected punch. It was a broad and nice and engaging track. Vocals had the crispness I expected, and the rear channels stayed active throughout a large portion of the film. The countless action sequences have the expected impact to make this an engaging track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Shadows & Pain: Designing The Crow – New to this disc is this three part feature that breaks down some particular elements of the film.                                                 
    • Angels All Fire: Birth of the Legend – Production Designer Alex McDowell takes a look at the visual look and feel of the film as well as its music.
    • On Hallowed Ground: The Outer Realm – McDowell now focuses on the cinematography as well as some of the practical effects used.
    • Twisted Wreckage: The Inside Spaces – Finally we get a look at the set as well as around it and also commented on is Lee’s performance in the movie.
  • Sideshow Collectibles: An Interview with Edward R. Pressman – Another new feature focuses on Paul Hernandez as he and Edward R. Pressman look at some of the collectibles available. And odd feature, but anything new is good.
  • Audio Commentary – Director Alex Proyas sits down for this track and while not particularly chatty, he does have about the best account as to what transpired on the film as well as some more technical elements of the shoot.                                                   
  • Audio Commentary – Producer Jeff Most and Screenwriter John Shirley take a different approach and address the controversy surrounding the movie and its long lasting influence.   
  • Behind the Scenes Featurette – Don’t let the boring title fool you, this is actually pretty interesting as it gives us some history of the project, a look around the set and so forth. It’s not a new feature, but nice to have nonetheless.
  • A Profile on James O’Barr – Pretty self-explanatory. This is a look at the author of the comic who also served as the film’s screenwriter.
  • Extended Scenes – Three scenes are profiled running just over ten minutes.
    • The Arcade Bombing
    • The Funboy Fight
    • The Shootout at Top Dollar’s
  • Deleted Footage Montage – Just over 5 minutes’ worth is shown.
  • Trailer 

The Bottom Line

What needs to be said about The Crow has already been said. I will state that it was very nice to revisit it. It’s a film whose fate may not be known otherwise had its star not been killed in such a tragic and senseless manner. It does add some darkness and mystique to the film that wouldn’t have been present had Lee lived. To say that the film isn’t a total disaster given the sad circumstances surrounding it is also something of a miracle in and of itself. For fans and those alike, this set is recommended.

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