THE CROW: SALVATION
The Crow: Salvation has a good deal more potential to it than The Crow: City of Angels, which slavishly copied the original. This time, rather than the victim of a gangland execution, the anti-hero is an innocent person sent to the electric chair. (Here the white clown makeup is interestingly explained as being burn marks from the execution). While the film does not stray too far from the same theme of the undead avenger killing off a line of gangland hoods responsible for his death, the avenger plot is at least conducted with some originality here it is turned into a mystery where the hero is uncovering a conspiracy among dirty cops who had him framed. Fred Ward in particular has great presence during the latter half of the film. As the central figure, Eric Mabius has a nicely sardonic line hes not another Brandon Lee but neither does he have the blandness that Vincent Perez did in City of Angels.
Unfortunately, where The Crow: Salvation falls down is in the thoroughly banal direction. There is none of the slickly exciting handling of Alex Proyas in the first film or even the stylized Gothic look that Tim Pope brought to City of Angels. Director Bharat Nalluri copies the crow-eye vision cruising across the rooftops and the look of the slick dark streets from the original but they are being conducted on a B-budget and have a thorough routineness and lack in any atmosphere. Bharat Nalluri is like a hack B action movie director and throws in gratuitous and routinely conducted car chases and helicopter explosions. (Although there is one cool effects scene where Eric Mabius blows his own head off with a handgun and it immediately reconstitutes). Despite an original take on the story, it is Bharat Nalluris direction that kills the film. The more one thinks about it, if series producer Edward R. Pressman had taken the script from The Crow: Salvation and put it together with the stylism offered by City of Angelss Tim Pope, we could have had one worthwhile sequel instead of two forgettable mediocrities.
The career of Bharat Nalluri failed to much go anywhere after this. He has mostly worked in British television, although has made the odd subsequent film including Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) and Spooks: The Greater Good (2015), plus a return to genre material with the mini-series Mars Project (2017).
It would have been equally interesting to see what might have happened if the producers had gone ahead with the version originally planned to be scripted and directed by heavy/industrial metaller Rob Zombie, of House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and Halloween (2007) fame, before clashes between Zombie and the producers ended up with his being fired.