|The Crow: Salvation|
|Directed by||Bharat Nalluri|
|Written by||Chip Johannessen|
|Based on||The Crow|
by James O'Barr
|Produced by||Edward R. Pressman|
|Edited by||Howard E. Smith|
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Distributed by||Dimension Films|
The Crow: Salvation is a 2000 American superhero film directed by Bharat Nalluri. Starring Eric Mabius as Alex Corvis and the third installment of The Crow film series, based on the comic book character of the same name by James O'Barr. After its distributor cancelled the intended wide theatrical release due to The Crow: City of Angels' negative critical reception, The Crow: Salvation was released direct-to-video after a limited theatrical run.
In Salt Lake City, Alex Corvis is a death row convict framed for the murder of his girlfriend Lauren Randall. Three years later, he is sentenced to death in the electric chair. When he is asked for his last words, he says he still loves Lauren and that he is innocent; the guards do their job, and the switch is pulled. The generator is struck by lightning during the electrocution, overriding the electricity, and Alex suffers a painful, excruciating death. Soon after the execution, Alex is resurrected by a mystical crow and gifted with supernatural abilities so he can clear his name and avenge Lauren's death. Alex follows the crow to the Salt Lake City police department's evidence room, where he discovers that Lauren was killed by a group of corrupt cops. Alex has a vision of one of the killers, who has a scar on his arm matching one he saw just before his execution. Alex finds the knife that was used on Lauren, and then goes to her grave. There he meets with Lauren's sister Erin, who believes he is guilty. He tells her that he will prove his innocence, and disappears.
Alex finds Tommy Leonard, a witness at the trial who was paid to give perjured testimony about Alex, and forces him to confess that the cops who murdered Lauren were Madden, Martin Toomey, Vincent Erlich, Stan Roberts, and Phillip Dutton and that they had paid him off to lie at the trial.
Alex kills Dutton while the latter is attempting to rape two young girls he had pulled over on a bogus drunk-driving charge, leaving a blood stained pattern of a crow on the roof of Dutton's car. Next, Alex kills Erlich in a car crash, but inadvertently drops the list of names of the cops he's after, and Roberts and Toomey find it. Later, Alex gives Erin the registration from Erlich's car, which was leased from the D.E.R.T. Corporation, which lists Erin's family's home address. She then finds out that her father, Nathan Randall, is in business with the corrupt cops who killed Lauren and that Lauren had uncovered the truth, thus making her father indirectly responsible for her death. Nathan swears he did not intend for Lauren to die, but Erin nevertheless runs from him in horror.
Alex goes to the place where Lauren died and finds Erin there. She blames herself for Lauren's murder, telling Alex that she had told the cops where to go to find Lauren, thinking that they would only arrest Alex. Using the Crow's mystical power, Alex shows Erin how Lauren fought off her attackers before she was murdered and how she should forgive herself. Erin goes home and finds that her father has committed suicide. Later, Alex meets with his lawyer, Peter Walsh, who tells him that Nathan owned a company called Westwind Building, which owns D.E.R.T., now revealed as a front for a drug smuggling operation. Lauren had witnessed Detective Roberts, killing a man at the Key Club; Police Captain John Book then had Lauren killed.
Madden kills Walsh and Book kidnaps Erin. Alex starts a shootout at the Key Club in which he impales Roberts with a pipe he breaks off the ceiling, and kills the remaining police. Madden shows up and tries to kill Alex, but his shot accidentally shoots a broken gas pipe; the explosion kills Toomey. Alex walks out of the fire and sees an arm hanging out of the rubble with the scar on it.
The next day, Alex finds out that the man with the scarred arm faked his death and is still at large. Alex goes to the police station to kill Book. However, he is no longer invulnerable, as he "fulfilled his duty" after finding the arm with the scar. Capt. Book begins to stab Alex repeatedly, and as Alex dies from his wounds, Book berates him and tells him that Alex himself is Lauren's murderer. In pain and anguish, Alex comes to believe Book's lie, and that doubt leaves Alex dead once more. Madden, Capt. Book and his secretary pull Alex into Book's secret taxidermy room, where Erin is tied up with her mouth stitched shut and Walsh's body (missing the left arm, which had been used to fake the scarred arm) is hanging from the ceiling. Erin manages to drop Lauren's locket and the crow drops it next to Alex. Representing a promise of love and truth, the locket revives Alex. Alex sets Erin free and kills both Madden and the secretary, and Erin runs out with Book in pursuit. Capt. Book captures Erin and tries to flee with her in his car, but the rejuvenated Alex catches up with them and exposes Book's arm, revealing that he is indeed the man with the scar.
Alex and Erin take Capt. Book to the site of Alex's death, and strap him into the electric chair. Alex explains to Book how electrocution is not merciful, but actually a painful method of execution, and Book blusters that he will return from the dead like Alex did and kill Erin. Alex covers Book's face with the mask while Erin throws the switch, and they watch him writhe in agony as he is electrocuted. In moments, Capt. Book bursts into flames and dies screaming while Erin and Alex leave his body to cremate on the chair. Outside the prison, Alex disappears to be reunited with Lauren, and Erin puts the necklace that bound him to her on his gravestone.
Lisa Nesselson of Variety responded positively to the film, opining that it was "a reasonably suspenseful, adequately made programmer" with a "calmly and wryly effective" protagonist and "efficient f/x artillery." JoBlo's Berge Garabedian awarded The Crow: Salvation a score of 4/10, and concluded, "The film itself was definitely a little more entertaining than the second installment with some pretty slick gory death scenes, a loud but cool soundtrack, and a lead who doesn't throw you off with a cheesy accent. In fact, I credit Mabius for pulling off a decent outing despite my initial skepticism (A teen Crow? Never!). Unfortunately, you don't really care about ANY of the characters, especially the bad guys or the family left behind, so all you're basically left with is a low-rent Crow retread with a decent lead, a nice look, but plenty of bad dialogue, zero originality or depth." David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews had a similarly middling response to the film, giving it a score of 2/5, criticizing its casting and anemic violence, and writing, "While Salvation certainly isn't as bad as that first sequel, it still doesn't come near the sheer coolness of the first one."
Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club lambasted the film as "a repugnant exercise in emptily stylish ultraviolence that plays like the longest, most expensive Rammstein video ever made" and closed his review of it with, "Dour and humorless even as its over-the-top violence and awful dialogue propel it to the realm of high camp, The Crow: Salvation marks a nadir for a series that was never especially good to begin with." Jonathan Barkan of Bloody Disgusting counted The Crow: Salvation and The Crow: Wicked Prayer as being among the worst horror films that he had ever seen, calling them "deplorable" before going on to say, "Both of them felt like lazy, slapdash, thoughtless, cash cows and that feeling permeates in every scene, oozing out of the celluloid like some damn viscous disease." Nick Perkins of Coming Soon was similarly derisive of the film, ranking it as the worst in the series, and writing, "In theory, it's a good story. It should be, as it was written by Crow creator, James O'Barr. It's just the execution that left a lot to be desired. Mabius absolutely lacked the charisma that Brandon Lee possessed in spades. And though Kirsten Dunst also starred in this film, the supporting characters were generally as bland as the lead."
On September 9, 2014, Lionsgate re-released the film on DVD. On October 7, 2014, it was released on DVD by Lionsgate in a triple feature edition with the other Crow sequels, The Crow: City of Angels and The Crow: Wicked Prayer.