Picks and Pans Review: The Crow

updated 05/16/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson, Rochelle Davis, Michael Wincou, Sofia Shinas

Buried somewhere within this chaotically directed mess may be an exciting fantasy adventure film. Of course, it is so ill-lit and muddy-sounding that Wuthering Heights may be in there somewhere, too, and maybe Claudia Schiffer Does Dallas or the lost episodes of The Hollywood Squares.

While filming The Crow last year, Brandon Lee was accidentally killed in an on-set shooting mishap during one of the movie's countless bad fight scenes. That accident is no excuse for the seemingly purposeful lack of focus in the camera work.

The unimaginative David SchowJohn Shirley script, adapted from the comic-book series by James O'Barr, concerns an aspiring rock musician in an unnamed city who is killed in an incomprehensible—and frenetically staged—attack by a drug gang led by Wincott. A mysterious, mystical raven, visiting Lee's grave, helps him come back to life (with intermittent superpowers) so he can hunt down Wincott and avenge himself and his murdered girlfriend, Shinas. Lee, supported by a little girl admirer, the precocious Davis, and cop Hudson, then sets off for the film's clunkily arranged showdown. Australian Alex Proyas, a music video veteran, directed without distinguishing himself in any positive way.

As The Crow flies—not at all—it is a very short distance from the credits to stultifying tedium. (R)

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