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Film / The Crow: City of Angels

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"If two people really love each other, nothing can keep them apart."

A 1996 film, the sequel to The Crow (1994), written by David S. Goyer and directed by Tim Pope.

Set in the near future, the plot follows the same beats as the first film, but with a new protagonist and villains. Motorcycle mechanic Ashe Corven (Vincent Perez) and his son Danny are murdered after they witness a gangland killing in the wrong neighborhood. Ashe rises from the grave to extract vengeance against the motley assortment of thugs who killed him, which brings him into conflict with the local crime lord Judah (Richard Brooks) and his mystic adviser Sibyl. The character of Sarah is now an adult and uses her experience with Eric Draven to help guide Ashe on his rampage against the villains.

It was also notable for featuring Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers star Thuy Trang as the villainous Kali, in what would be her final role before her tragic death in 2001.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The film takes place a few years in the future. Sarah is now an adult, and fashion has become even more gothy and extreme than in the first film.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Judah Earl specifically pushes drugs that are manufactured to kill the user. When his more business-minded underling objects to this, Judah orders him killed.
  • Ax-Crazy: Judah Earl, who is solely motivated by an overwhelming urge to inflict as much pain, death and misery around him as he can, even selling drugs specifically tailored to kill whomever uses them just to bask in the resulting suffering.
  • Badass Longcoat: One of the design conventions of the first film that the sequel followed. To help differentiate, Ashe's coat was designed to evoke the image of a priest's cassock.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: Inverted. Ashe is a rare male example.
  • Big Bad: Judah Earl.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ashe avenges his son's murder and defeats the bad guys, but Sarah's dead too. Ashe returns to the afterlife and presumably reunited with Danny and Sarah.
  • Blind Seer: Sybil became so tormented by her visions that she gouged her own eyes out. It didn't help.
  • Broken Bird: The adult Sarah, which is sad given that the first film ended on a hopeful note for her character.
  • Car Fu: Motorcycle Fu, in this case.
  • Continuity Nod: Numerous ones to the first film. Sarah still owns Gabriel the cat, has Eric's old Fool mask, and wears Shelley's wedding ring. She also picks up a stray girl off the streets and gets her some food, just as Officer Albrecht did for her when she was young.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Ashe was designed to be as different from Eric Draven as possible. Whereas Eric was a skilled fighter, Ashe is more of a trickster, to the point of performing magic tricks. Also, Eric was a musician about to get married, while Ashe was a mechanic and single father.
  • Cool Old Guy: Sarah's boss, Noah, played by Ian Drury.
  • Crapsack World: Word of God states that the film is set in a deliberately much shittier version of Los Angeles.
  • Cruel Mercy: In the original cut, Kali's death is different. She is still alive, though crippled and unable to move, because her back were broken after being thrown out of the window, and she is seen crawling along the ground. He then teleports down and she begs him to kill her because she is in pain. Ashe refuses and smiles as he stands over her, telling her that he has already sent her to Hell.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Ashe's crow spread on its back and its wings impaled with daggers. While it's still alive.
  • Death of a Child: Ashe's son Danny is killed by the villains while Ashe is forced to watch.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Sarah.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: Sarah has dreams about Ashe and his son being murdered long after they are already dead.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: Judah Earl is convinced that he has visited Hell in the past and liked what he saw. He takes control of Los Angeles and tries to recreate his vision on the entire city, flooding it with dangerous drugs and forcing the people to live in a rundown place filled with vices and in fear of him. He kills one of his dealers for objecting that the amount of addicts who die is hurting their profits, suggesting that (like Top Dollar before him) he prefers further corruption over money.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Sarah, as played by Mia Kirshner.
  • Eye Scream: The baddies attack Noah at his workplace and try to torture him into revealing where Sarah is, using what implements they find lying around. Noah works in a tattoo parlor. Nemo also gets this with Ashe pushing his eyes in.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In a featurette Director Tim Pope and Screenwriter David S. Goyer commented on the titular character’s “androgynous sensuality” and “feminine qualities” noting the attraction both male and female viewers and in-universe characters feel towards him.
  • Fantastic Drug: Trinity.
  • The Ferryman: Invoked by Ashe when he informs the mortally wounded Curve that people used to place coins in the mouths of corpses so they could pay the ferryman who took them across the Styx. He enacts the ritual on Curve.
  • For the Evulz: Judah sells drugs that kill the people who use them. When an underling points out this lack of business sense, Judah kills him too.
  • Hanging Around: After gaining the Crow's powers, Judah tries his attempt at a Public Execution on Ashe by hanging him from a street light in front of the whole town.
  • Happy Ending Override: The first film implied that Sarah repaired her relationship with her mother. The Director's Cut reveals that Darla abandoned her to get out of Detroit, later dying of a drug overdose. Sarah moved from place to place before ending up in L.A.
  • Hell Seeker: Judah Earl, the cultist drug dealer villain, is convinced that he witnessed Hell during a Near-Death Experience and loved it. Since he can't go back there again without dying, he decides the next best thing is to shape the world in Hell's image.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Judah ritualistically kills Ashe's crow by holding it down on its back and driving two daggers through its wings and one through its heart. No Animals Were Harmed but it's excruciating to watch.
    • Judah himself, courtesy of an enraged Ashe. It doesn't take.
  • Jerkass: All of the villains, but especially Judah, who takes joy in doing horrible things to others and offers no apologies or explanations for his cruelty.
  • Kick the Dog: A deleted scene had Jubal tear up Sarah's drawing.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The reason Ashe and Danny are killed.
  • Meaningful Name: Quite a few.
    • "Sibyl" means a seer or psychic,
    • Kali, Judah's bloodthirsty Dragon, shares her name with a Hindu death goddess.
    • Ashe's given name sounds like "ash," which is associated with death. His surname Corven derives from "corvid," which means "crow."
    • Judah's name is a version of the name Judas, most famously the name of the betrayer of Jesus.
  • Parental Abandonment: Danny's drug-addicted mother left the scene shortly after he was born. It is implied that Darla either died from drug use or abandoned Sarah sometime after the first film.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: One of Judah's underlings destroyed a large batch of Judah's drugs because it was killing off the people who used it. However, the guy spun the bad drugs as being bad for business, rather than being morally repugnant. Judah kills him with the bad drugs for his trouble.
  • Public Execution: After gaining the Crow's powers, Judah tries his attempt at a public execution on Ashe by hanging him from a street light in front of the whole town.
  • Refusal of the Call: Ashe is much more hesitant than Eric to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Sarah has to help talk him into it.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Sarah is drawn to Ashe because he reminds her so much of Eric.
  • Revised Ending: The ending of the film used in the final cut is not the one originally intended by the director.
    • The ending originally intended by the director is a Downer Ending: It has a pause during the final battle, after the crow has been killed, which greatly weakens Ashe. Danny appears to him in a vision, and tells him if he doesn't die now, he will never be able to again. Ashe refuses and returns to life to save Sarah. However, Sarah is then sadly killed by Judah. As she is dying, she gives Ashe Eric's wedding ring, and they declare their love for each other. Ashe then receives a Heroic Second Wind and uses a murder of crows to devour Judah. The film then ends with Ashe as an immortal wandering the earth, unable to die and reunite in the afterlife with Danny and Sarah.
    • The second ending (created by Harvey Weinstein) is somewhat more optimistic. The crow still dies, but Ashe does not receive a vision from Danny. Sarah also dies the same way, and after Ashe is able to defeat Judah, he is able to peacefully cross over in the afterlife with Sarah and Danny.
  • Sadist: Judah Earl admits point blank to one of his goons he executes (because the guy objected that the bad quality of their drugs was cutting into their profits since it killed too many customers) that hurting people is his only enjoyment.
    Judah: Weren't you listening before, Basset? I said we all have our pleasures. Mine is the pain of others.
  • Same Story, Different Names: The high concept of the film is almost identical to the first film. A man and his loved one are murdered by a gang on a holiday. The man gets brought back a year later on the same holiday to extract vengeance on the Quirky Miniboss Squad who killed him. This prompts the crime lord of the city, who is in it For the Evulz, to consults a mystical woman to help him fight the man.
  • Scary Black Man: Judah.
  • Serial Escalation: In the first film, Myca deduces that the villains must kill the crow to remove Eric's powers, but they only manage to injure it. In this film, Sibyl helps Judah kill the crow and steal Ashe's powers for himself.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: The couplet which Sarah quotes: "That all the world will be in love with night / And pay no worship to the garish sun" is from Romeo and Juliet, Act 3.
  • Shower of Angst: Sarah takes one at the start of the film, after waking up from a nightmare. It combines Fanservice (naked Mia Kirshner) with plot information (Sarah has self-harming scars and several large tattoos, suggesting that things haven't gone well for her since the end of the first film).
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Poor Sarah. And she's the only returning character from the first film to boot.
  • Viewers Are Morons: Pleasingly averted. In earlier drafts of the script Ashe was a teenager and Danny was his kid brother. It was ultimately decided that fans of The Crow were, after all, emotionally mature enough to empathise with an adult losing a child, and that the presumed target demographic of the film (ie teenage boys) did not need a protagonist to be just like them in order to relate.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: There are many, many close-ups of both Ashe's and Sarah's eyes throughout the film. In Sarah's case, it's Foreshadowing of her death.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kali (Rare Female Example), The Dragon to Judah Earl, kills Ashe's very young son without batting a lash.
  • You Have Failed Me: Judah is introduced killing one of his drug dealers for destroying a large stash of drugs because it killed too many users to make a return profit.

Alternative Title(s): The Crow City Of Angels