Maintaining the themes of the original film (and it's original comic book) CITY OF ANGELS chronicles the resurrection and retribution of its protagonist Ashe, who follows the guidance of a crow to exact a violent revenge against an occult gang who brutally murder him and his 8-year old son after they they witness the murder of a drug dealer.
Pope and Goyer made a conscious effort not to replicate the original film by changing it's atmosphere and texture. The blackness and gothic production design of the first film has been replaced by a washed-out saturation of colours and a dingy punk setting. There is also a hazy filter that smothers the screen, giving the world that's depicted a strange and surreal quality.
Vincent Perez steps into the lead role and offers a strong performance that never replicates Lee's persona and gives the character a different level of anguish. He suits the leathers and make-up and commands the screen. The supporting cast includes Mia Kirshner, Thomas Jane and Iggy Pop, who are all good. African American actor Richard Brooks takes on the lead-villain role, which presents a strong contrast to Michael Wincott's previous turn, and he gives a chilling - albeit lethargic – performance as the sadistic killer.
Pope's background as a music video director (most of The Cure's vids) made him an ideal candidate for helming this sequel, and his visceral stamp is undeniable... CITY OF ANGELS is, indeed, a very different film. I have never understood the film's ridicule and having watched it again recently I think that it stands up really well. The production value is sensational and the soundtrack (featuring White Zombie, Filter, PJ Harvey and Tricky) is fantastic. Combine these qualities with a well written script and an ensemble of competent performances and we're presented with a film that should hold a much stronger cult status than it does.
If it's been years since you watched THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS then I recommend revisiting it again soon. If you can ignore the original film and cut this sequel some slack then you might discover that it's actually a kick-ass action thriller with a hell of a lot of style.