The Crow: Salvation (2000)
The Crow: Salvation (2000)

Genre: Crime Drama and Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min.

Release Date: June 14th, 2000 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Bharat Nalluri Actors: Eric Mabius, Kirsten Dunst, William Atherton, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Walton Goggins, Kylee Cochran, Grant Shaud, David Jean Thomas, Dale Midkiff, Fred Ward

 


 

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athan Randall (William Atherton) and his daughter Erin (Kirsten Dunst) want justice for the death of Lauren (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), Erin’s sister, who was murdered three years earlier – suffering 53 stab wounds. 21-year-old Alexander Frederick Corvis (Eric Mabius) is on death row for the crime, though he has always maintained his innocence, blaming a mystery man with a series of jagged scars running along his forearm. Nevertheless, the jury didn’t buy his story (since he was found with the murder weapon), and so his execution looms. On a dark and stormy night, he’s escorted to the electric chair, securely strapped down, and thoroughly fried in front of a small gathering. “I’m innocent.”

As it turns out, Alex’s story isn’t over, especially considering the fact that the actual killer is in the observation room, momentarily revealing his disfigured arm. Thanks to some otherworldly intervention – and the appearance of a sizable black crow – Alex awakens from the morgue, quite alive, though his face has been burned beyond recognition due to a comically sinister metal mask placed on his head during the execution. But sloughing off a layer of skin reveals a more familiar visage, save for dark makeup around his eyes, pasty white flesh, and bloody lines down his cheeks and across his lips. And now Alex has the ability to transform at will into a crow, flying away from the prison and into the police station to begin his new quest to solve Lauren’s murder. Plus, he’s invincible, which certainly won’t hurt his sleuthing adventures.

The plot of this third film in the series is virtually the same as before, with a man coming back from the dead to avenge a loved one, as well as to seek vengeance against those who wronged him. Plus, there’s an innocent young woman mixed up in the mess, a slew of evil supporting characters engaging in nefarious things, and plenty of grungy locales, gothic garb, and violent acts. With such a dearth of protagonists, this is the kind of film that makes it incredibly difficult to care about who lives or dies. And since Alex is an insuperable supernatural force, it’s never a question as to whether or not he’ll succeed in tracking down his enemies.

Interestingly, “The Crow: Salvation” retains a similar tone to its predecessors, recreating many comparable scenes and themes. From the music to the lighting to the sets to the makeup to the costuming, at least the look and feel are faithful to what was started with the 1994 picture (itself based on a comic book series). The bloodshed and related grotesqueries are also proportionate, though the mystery is intended to be less obvious; the major culprits aren’t immediately revealed. Sadly, the hierarchy of villainy is just bland enough that ultimate revelations aren’t terribly amusing.

Despite the repetition, which is surely what fans are looking for anyway, this third outing suffers routinely from subpar acting, headlined by Mabius, whose lack of charisma is a tremendous detriment. Dunst is far better, but still ironing out wrinkles in her performance, while nearly all of the henchmen are notably inferior. That isn’t much of an issue, however, when the meat of the film is action-oriented showdowns and shootouts and explosions. A couple of fight sequences and related stunts are minimally entertaining, but by the end, this formulaic, macabre, and, on occasion, oddly nasty revenge fantasy struggles to bring anything fresh to the franchise.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10