The Crow: City of Angels is a wannabe doppelgänger of its older and more prominent sibling. In its quest to better itself, it only succeeds in being a lesser replicate of the cult film that started it all.
The problem that plagues sequels is their stubbornness to piggyback on their relative rather than demonstrate how they differ and can be successful in their own right. I’ve seen it too many times. I think we all have. Sequels are meant to build off the original, making additions and further insulating the piece while constituting itself as an individual feature. Too many times sequels have played their cards the same way as their predecessors did, formulating a creation that is as mindless as a clone. It only knows what it has been taught by its elder. It has no cognitive function or inner direction. It just follows the script.
This leaves a film or any art for that matter rehashing the footsteps of another, going through the paces with the lifelessness of a weathered doll. It’s stodgy. There are no wheels turning or current of energy flowing through it. It’s as animated as a mannequin, faceless and without an identity to distinguish it from all the others. It’s practically invisible at its own party because all of the guests that have been invited have naturally been attracted to the superior, The Crow, which has more energy and enthusiasm than his woebegone brother.
City of Angels is a prime example of why every promising film does not need a sequel regardless of the established fan base. Based off a plethora of examples, I think we’ve seen we can’t count on Hollywood to make sequels that do justice to the original work. Sadly, critical acclaim from sequels is not a certainty, no matter the sometimes glorified state the original finds itself. Sequels become remakes, the opposite of what a sequel should be.
The Crow didn’t need a remake and it didn’t need a sequel. As I hashed out in my review, The Crow has a unique aura surrounding it, even perusing the mystical but amorphous Crow. The lack of knowledge of the character at times worked in the film’s favor, spurring curiosity. City of Angels spurns all that with a new director who lacks the vision that Proyas had. It’s obvious this film is under the control of a different hand. This project’s brokenness is ubiquitous. The production is more depressing than the atmosphere. The acting, especially by the man beneath the spotlight, Vincent Perez, is a fresh serving of histrionics, quips and dialogue so malignant I feel I should be wearing a hazmat suit. It’s hard to find Perez culpable, however, given the character write-up.
The motif of the film overrides the players trying to carrying the film and with no calling to the audience, there’s little reason to stick with it or find any value in the banners it does manage to raise. It’s a message taken verbatim from the 1994 work, but with no new composition.
The bug that crawls all over this piece is the lack of productivity. Like the wheels turning on a bike with no chain or a car left in neutral on the plains of the Midwest, the vehicle is left stagnant, milling in the limited space it’s afforded and susceptible only to its own gravity. City of Angels weighs so little that gravity doesn’t have a reason to act upon it and so it’s left still on a remote campus.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Olympus Has Fallen, The Cable Guy, The Cabin in the Woods, Tears of the Sun, Edge of Tomorrow)
60-69 It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (The Crow, Hardcore Henry, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (X-Men: Apocalypse, D-Tox/Eye See You, Constantine, Race, Everest)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Bloodsport, War, The Ridiculous 6, The Lost Boys, Zombeavers)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Centurion, Planet of the Apes, Stonados, Redemption, Pride and Prejudice)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie Stoner, The Forbidden Dimensions, Cyborg, Outcast, Sabotage)
My score for The Crow: City of Angels: 34.
A short review for a short film, it’s been a little too long since I’ve seen this to write a thorough piece, not that City of Angels deserved that anyway.