"The Crow" has a great premise, fantastic action, and director Alex Proyas' beautiful visual style. It looks pretty much perfect. It's just hard to enjoy this amazing picture if you actually think about it.
A pretty nifty response to a cop saying "Don't move or you're dead!"
Eric Draven is living the good life with his kick-ass girl, Shelly. They have an absurdly pretty downtown penthouse loft. They are such good and happy people that you don't hate them for their fortune; also, the loft is in downtown Detroit. They're wildly in love, and Eric has just proposed (she said "yes!").
Shelly's a bit of an activist, trying to organize a group complaint against their landlord (given the look of their place, this is where you can't suspend disbelief). Devil's Night - Detroit's real-life yearly October 30th crime & arson fest - is when that comes back to bite them. She becomes victim to their home invasion and sexual assault. Eric arrives after they've done a lot of damage. He's stabbed, shot, and thrown out the window. The punks set the place on fire. Shelly slips away after a day and a half in the hospital.
A great scene, in any era of film-making.
So it's not exactly a laugh-a-minute thrill ride out of the gate. Have I mentioned how much I hate sexual assault?… There's only a few story-telling themes that could actually give this doomed pair a future: philosophy, religion, sci-fi/fantasy, and horror. It's sort of an absurd group, don't you think? Well, the story continues…
365 days later ('94 was a leap year), a large black bird lands on Eric's tombstone, tapping the marble with its beak. The poor stiff digs his way out - his wounds gone, he still wears the suit he was buried in. Getting back to the ruins of their home, he realizes he can see and feel memories when he touches people or objects like rings and guns. He also discovers that he's now incredibly fast, agile, and strong.
So he does what any other undead victim would do: he gears up, smearing his face with white makeup, and his eyes and mouth with Shelley's black lipstick. Then he goes to find and wreak bloody revenge on the murderers. Bloody and, when possible, "ironic" revenge.