One of the few films I’d call one of my favourites. The simplest of ideas, executed with cool characters, great visuals, and the ultimate blend of thrills and romance.
The dark cyberpunk setting became Alex Proyas’ trademark for the next couple of films, but it was the tragedy and heartbreak in the eyes of hero Brandon Lee as Eric Draven (even aside from what befell him during production) that carried you away with him at every step.
Based on the revenge fantasy comic book by James O’Barr who lost his girlfriend to a drunk driver, it tells the story of guitarist Eric, his beautiful fiancé Shelley and their young friend Sarah.
Their love is an ocean of calm in the unnamed America city where they live (apparently Detroit), a place where it’s forever pouring with rain and where criminal gangs rule the streets, carrying out extortion and murder for crime boss Top Dollar (Wincott), against whom honest cops like Albrecht (Hudson) are powerless.
Draven’s soul is restless on the other side while his killers still roam the streets and the talisman of a Crow is sent to bring him back form the dead to exact vengeance on them one by one, bringing him face to face with the cruel underworld godfather and his sexy but psychotic girlfriend (Ling) and their gang.
The classic archetype of the goodies getting even with the baddies is the foundation for virtually every film made and every story told; nowhere will you wish for it or be as satisfied by it as here.
Lee is brilliant, the role tailor made for him, and for an actor who could have been just another faxed-in performance action film star cashing in on his martial arts skills, he really acts, giving depth and feeling to his every line. Hudson, Wincott and the other villains are all perfect for their roles, and equally tragic as Lee’s fate is that of young co-star Rochelle Davis, who filmed one more scene after his on set death and was too heartbroken to ever work on a film again.
The saddest, most beautiful and most lyrical action movie ever made — what they should all be like instead of cartoons.
Blu-Ray Details and Extras
The Blu-ray will seemingly only play in 1080i on the machine here – could be the result of a prehistoric player or it might be because an old master has been used in the conversion process. The soundtrack too is only a lousy 2.0 track.
Thankfully there’s some good extras – but nothing those that own the ‘Collectors Edition’ DVD haven’t seen before – to make up for the inferior video and audio.
The price reflects the quality of the disc though, so no qualms about being suckered into buying something substandard for top dollar.