Maybe Real Love isn’t Forever: Why The Crow Remake Should Stay Dead

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“If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.” from The Crow (1994, the only version that should exist)

I was thirteen when I first saw The Crow in the movie theater (with my cousins during the summer of 1994 in the $2 second-run theater). The Crow is about Eric Draven, a rock musician, who along with his fiancee Shelly are attacked and killed on Devil’s Night (Oct. 30) by a street gang. A year later, Eric is resurrected by the Crow to seek vengeance for his death and Shelly’s. With the Crow’s supernatural powers (Eric can heal after being injured, and he can see through the Crow’s eyes as the bird flies high in the sky), he is able to kill off the gang members so that he and Shelly can finally rest in peace.

It was a tragic tale coupled with the real-life tragedy of Brandon Lee’s death. Lee, the son of famed martial artist and actor Bruce Lee, portrayed Eric in the movie. This was supposed to be his breakout role, but sadly, he was shot and killed in an accident on set at the age of 28. The film was only completed thanks to a stunt double and special effects. His death eerily reflected the movie’s storyline. Brandon himself was set to marry his fiancee after the film wrapped. James O’Barr, creator of The Crow comic book series, wrote it after his own fiancee was killed by a drunk driver. He stated that working on the comic was a “personal catharsis” for him. All of this made this movie about loss and grief more alive and personal for me.

Looking back, I probably had no business watching that kind of movie at that age. It was violent and brutal, but I connected with it. Maybe it was the start of my teen angst, but it certainly was the start of my love for the dark fantasy genre. After watching the movie, I consumed all things The Crow. I purchased the film’s soundtrack (a ’90s staple with songs from The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, and Pantera). I gave my mom $23 so she could write me a check because I wanted to order The Crow graphic novel. I own a copy of the movie on VHS and DVD. Later on, I purchased Graeme Revell’s score, which remains one of my favorite film scores of all time. I loved The Crow. LOVED IT.

I loved it so much that I even watched the three sequels (The Crow: City of Angels released in theaters in 1996, and the two direct-to-video films The Crow: Salvation released in 2000 and The Crow: Wicked Prayer released in in 2005). I even tuned into the short-lived 1998 TV series, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, based on the film (it only lasted one season).

If Hollywood isn’t careful, we might get another The Crow: Wicked Prayer.

After the failures of the sequels and the TV series, the franchise (at least in another movie or TV format) seemed to fade away. That is until 2011 when rumors of a remake started surfacing with Bradley Cooper playing Eric Draven. I love Bradley Cooper, but as Eric Draven? I couldn’t see it. Not only that, did I want to see it? At least the movie sequels had different characters playing the Crow. This sounded like a complete remake of the original 1994 film.

Two years passed with no news, and once again, more casting rumors emerged. Cooper had left the project and now Luke Evans was cast as Eric. Again, I love Luke Evans, and at least he looks like the part, but no one can top Brandon Lee’s performance. Another two years passed, and Luke was gone. This time the name floating around as the film’s lead was Jack Huston. At this point, I was tired of being jerked around. As a fan of the franchise, I just wanted it to end. Why couldn’t they let The Crow rest in peace? But no, like Eric Draven, it kept rising from the grave. I should also note that during all this time, directors were also coming in and out of the project. The most current director attached is Corin Hardy, who is set to direct the latest actor to board the movie: Jason Momoa, Aquaman himself.

In a November Instagram post, Momoa posted this:

It pretty much confirms that the remake is finally moving forward.

More than 20 years has passed since the original film came out. In this cinematic age of reboots and remakes, it isn’t surprising that a studio wants to reboot The Crow. Since the movie came out, it’s become a cult classic and you can’t help but think of Brandon Lee’s untimely death as you watch the movie. Will a remake tarnish his legacy? The director of the 1994 version, Alex Proyas, recently expressed the same thoughts on his Facebook: “The notion of ‘rebooting’ this story, and the original character — a character Brandon gave life to at too high a cost — seems wrong to me. Please let this remain Brandon’s film.”

A year ago, I discussed Hollywood’s recent flood of reboots. I also noted how The Crow is one of my untouchables. Not only is it a movie that helped shape my love for movies, comics, and music, it’s also a product of its time. The first Crow comic book was released in 1989, the film came out in 1994. I feel like a movie set in today’s world produced by today’s studios would feel diluted. The simple message of loss and anger and love and healing might disappear. The original film also had so many iconic lines and moments (such as the one posted below) that I can’t imagine a remake repeating it again with the same weight and brilliance.

Let me make myself clear: I’m not against another The Crow movie or TV series, but why not create another character rising up as the Crow instead of Eric Draven (again)? There are plenty of characters from the comic book franchise. Hell, there’s even a FEMALE Crow (The Crow: Flesh and Blood). Why not release a new Crow movie with a female lead? But alas, this is Hollywood and that’s just wishful thinking on my part, although gender flips have been done successfully with other franchises.

I don’t know when and if the rebooted Crow movie will be released, but as a fan, I say after so many false starts, I think Hollywood should take it as a sign that The Crow should stay dead.


  • Lane Robins December 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t really care about reboots. Mostly, I just shrug them off. But I’m with you on this. The Crow seems like such an odd reboot, odd and unnecessary. It was a weirdly period piece–a slice of the early 90s/late 80s. I don’t know how they could update it successfully, but if they keep it in the same time period, why bother?

    Plus, what was all right then, seems awfully tricky now. Because really, The Crow is built on being a revenge story for his girlfriend’s death. It’s a giant “fridge the girl” movie. I wondered, even back then, why Shelly couldn’t come back and wreak her own vengeance.

    • Shara White December 14, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      I wondered, even back then, why Shelly couldn’t come back and wreak her own vengeance.

      I would watch the SHIT out of that.

    • nuyangwriter December 14, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      It’s like I said, there already is a canon female Crow! But no, Hollywood just wanted to remake a movie that didn’t even need one in the first place!


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