Last week, Jason Momoa took to Instagram to post a picture of himself sitting in a pub with up-and-coming horror director Corin Hardy. Alongside tantalizing hashtags like #greatnewstocome and #dreamjob, the pairing seemed fairly obvious: Jason Momoa has been tapped to take the lead in Hardy’s long-gestating reboot of mid-nineties cult classic, The Crow.
For most, the announcement should be a cause for joy (like, as much joy as Momoa has plastered across his face). The man formerly known as Khal Drogo, and currently known as the DCU’s Aquaman, is a great choice to spearhead the reboot of one of the most beloved cult classics in modern movie history.
Before we dive into the specifics of why Momoa is perfect for the title role, let’s talk about the original film from 1994, which has persisted in the popular subconscious for exactly two reasons.
First, the film’s pale, gothic aesthetic was perfectly envisioned. Everything from the costumes to the makeup to the sets is so wonderfully on point and distinct from anything that’s been done before or since. That extends to the film’s often-copied-but-never-duplicated official soundtrack, a tour through the darker side of 1990s alt rock.
Second, Brandon Lee’s tragic performance was perfectly suited to the role of an ex-rocker returned from the grave to get a taste of revenge over the course of the Halloween holiday.
Beyond those two things, Alex Proya’s film is pretty damn uneven. The script is clumsy and the story is extremely rote. Beyond the soundtrack and the star, the rest of it is something that could absolutely have been done better.
And Jason Momoa could be an integral part of that equation.
Momoa Can Brawl
Here’s the obvious one. We already know that Jason Momoa is an expert at physical choreography. In addition to his time as a fearsome warlord on Game of Thrones, a significant portion of Momoa’s career has been consumed with roles that put him in the thick of battle.
Fans of action films great and small may have seen Momoa pop up in several movies over the last half decade in which he’s been called upon to kick ass (and get his ass kicked) in a variety of different ways. Regardless of the quality of the overall film, Momoa has risen to the occasion remarkably.
We Know He Can Rock Mascara
From a physical standpoint, Jason Momoa is nearly perfect to fill the void left by Jason Lee’s absence. He’s comfortable in all kinds of war paint, including the Crow’s patented harlequin face paint. You can’t deny that Lee and Momoa possess some similar facial features. As Vanity Fair put it, both actors have “a strong brow game”.
For those people who are concerned that Momoa is a bit too brawny to play Eric Draven as a heroin-chic hero, that’s absolutely true. That being said, perhaps Momoa’s take on the character will draw inspiration from one of the scads of other people who’ve done time as the Crow, some of whom are pretty buff.
Joshua was a Native American farmer who saw his entire family murdered by Confederate soldiers.
Michael Korby did a short stint when he was resurrected by two crows in order to avenge himself and his fiancee.
While Momoa will most likely be playing Draven, it’s entirely possible that the character can be faithfully reimagined as something a little bulkier.
Let’s Give Momoa a Ghastly Reason to Smile
In Game of Thrones, Momoa was allowed to snarl a bit, but mostly he was the strong, silent type. In The Red Road, he got solid reviews, but was forced to spend most of his time brooding. In Conan the Barbarian, he was fierce and tough, but he was also forced to spend the entire time trying to make an unwatchable film sort of fun. The troubling thing about these performances is that they’ve begun to put Momoa in a box, when he’s more than capable of doing something more.
Okay, so Bullet to the Head is not what you’d call a good film. I fully admit that. However, it’s one of the rare moments when Momoa is actually allowed to emote, to enjoy himself in the heat of combat — just like we’d expect from the Crow — and he acquits himself admirably.