The Crow (1994)

Alex Proyas’s supernatural action thriller is a masterful example of triumph over tragedy, both as a narrative, and (sadly) as a monument to its late star, Brandon Lee. Lee, in the final week of shooting the film, was accidently shot on set, filming one of his final scenes. With Lee’s family’s permission, Proyas was able to resume shooting about a year later to finish it in Lee’s honour.

"the ideal combination of source material, filmmaker, and a pitch-perfect lead"

Based on comic auteur (a man who also has a horrific tale of loss from his own life) James O’Barr’s graphic novel, the story tells the tale of musician Eric Draven (Lee), a young man deeply in love with Shelly (Sofia Shinas). They run awry of a crime gang, when Shelly complains about their dilapidated rental apartment, and are murdered. A year goes past, and Eric literally returns from his grave, by way of a crow’s will, to exact bloody revenge upon those that continue to poison the lives of the living. The leader of this hateful gang, Top Dollar (Michael Wincott), has a groupie (Bai Ling) who understands Eric’s powers, where they come from and how to stop him. Will Eric complete his vengeance before they get to him?

Even I wrote ‘based on a comic book above’ but this story, although violently hyperbolic, is beautiful and not your standard comic book movie. Yes, it’s a revenge movie, but it’s choked with so many likeable characters, trying their best in an oppressive environment to make the best of things. The villains are effectively repellent, enticing even the most peace-loving viewer to long for their ends—and their ends are spectacular, inventive and deserved when they happen.

But this is Brandon Lee’s film through and through. He delivers humanity through his ghoul, his pain is palpable and moving, and regardless of the actor’s own tragic end, this film would have been a game changer for him. His performance is indelible, and despite another rehash coming this year with the wonderful Bill Skasgard, it’s impossible to replicate.The Crow (1994)

Ernie Hudson and young Rochelle Davis also bring light to the bleakness, feeding off and adding to the hope Lee brings to the movie. Every bad guy excels in this movie. They’re disgustingly bad and very effective to a one.

The effects, a combination of miniatures, optical effects and real-life stunts—with a minor sprinkling of CGI—are still effective. Proyas, to me, was always a bit like Tim Burton, effectively working with deep shadows and dark tones in his work. Graeme Revells haunting score and the accompanying music, a mix of alternate punk rockers of the time, match the visuals perfectly. It’s organic, seamless and moving stuff that pumps the blood as well as jerks the tears.

It is as good as it gets: the ideal combination of source material, filmmaker, and a pitch-perfect lead. No film is worth the cost of someone’s life, but Proyas did manage to honour his star dutifully. The Crow was, is and always will be a masterpiece, and a cruel promise of what might have been.

5/5 stars


The Crow (1994)

4k details divider

30th Anniversary Edition - 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray Edition

Home Video Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- May 7, 2024
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish
Dolby Vision, HDR10
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; German: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: 4K region-free


Predominantly dark palette movies are the toughest to replicate well on home media. Loss of detail and crush are common, unwelcome symptoms of these works. I’m happy to report Paramount have not failed us! This native 2160p scan of the original camera negatives is stellar! It handles the copious shades of black consistently and efficiently. Original grain is present, shows no signs of scrubbing or manipulation and keeps the scan of the period. It’s a clean print with no signs of damage or artefacts. What’s not of the period is the detail presented; you are gonna see just how intricate the sets and costumes are, with every rivet, wrinkle and bead of water captured masterfully. All this is highlighted in carefully placed DOLBY Vision/HDR10, really making the rim lighting and seldom uses of colour pop. This is a top tier and remarkably faithful print at a resolution never seen on home screens. An absolute home run.


Pretty sure this is a reuse of the impressive Lionsgate DTS-HD 5.1 track. It was always a densely packed mix, really delivering in action scenes and surround effects (especially the rain). There’s a heightened, exaggerated sound design that fits the film perfectly. As always, with a massive uptick in disc space, it would have been nice to see an Atmos mix, and two extra channels added to the already solid track provided. As good as it gets with a 5.1 mix.



  • Commentary track with Director Alex Proyas.
  • Commentary track with Producer Jeff Most and Screenwriter John Shirley

Special Features:

There is a decent three part mini-documentary that was shot for this new release. It’s sees production through the eyes of set designer Alex McDowell and is informative and interesting. Other features from previous releases are also included but are over twenty years old. It would have been nice for a ‘30th Anniversary Edition’ to see Proyas and O’Barr interviewed. It’s all included on the single 4K disc, which is convenient. I was sent a US copy, so you get the requisite slipcover with a modernised (but decent) new cover art. You also get (available to US customers only) a digital copy of the film. Hardly anniversary worthy as a package but the new print is a definite upgrade recommendation.

  • NEW! Shadows & Pain: Designing The Crow
  • Angels All Fire: Birth of the Legend
  • On Hallowed Ground: The Outer Realm
  • Twisted Wreckage: The Inside Spaces
  • NEW! Sideshow Collectibles: An Interview with Edward R. Pressman
  • Behind the Scenes Featurette
  • A Profile on James O'Barr (1080p, 33:26).
  • Extended Scenes
  • Deleted Footage Montage
  • Trailer

4k rating divider

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite 4K UHD Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details

The Crow (1994)

MPAA Rating: R.
102 mins
: Alex Proyas
James O'Barr; David J. Schow; John Shirley
Brandon Lee; Michael Wincott; Rochelle Davis
: action | Crime

Memorable Movie Quote: "He was already dead. He died a year ago the moment he touched her. They're all dead. They just don't know it yet."
Theatrical Distributor:
Columbia Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 13, 1994
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 7, 2024.
Synopsis: A man brutally murdered comes back to life as an undead avenger of his and his fiancée's murder.


The Crow (1994)