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This long-lost collaboration between Sam Raimi and the Coen brothers is intriguing, though definitely not as fun as it should be....
Shout! Factory / 83 Minutes / 1985 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: May 14, 2013
Crimewave is a significant cult oddity, a low-on-the-horizon nerdy crime comedy that children of the 90s have been dying to get their hands on for quite a while now. This is a movie made by The Evil Dead guys with the help of the Coen brothers (who collaborated on the script) – if it was 1993 right now and Crimewave was available to rent, it would be a red-letter day, right, guys?
In any case, Sam Raimi’s Crimewave is now available on Blu-ray, and it’s a trip. This slapstick death sentence flick is tough to pigeonhole in terms of genre (as Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 were), but the one thing lacking here is the fun that Raimi’s other early works provided. Watching Victor Ajax (Reed Birney) reveal in flashback how he came to be on death row succeeds when its story gets around to “The Heel” (the one and only Bruce Campbell), but otherwise, things stay pretty drab.
It goes without saying that both the Coens and Raimi would go on to bigger and better things, but this Shout! Factory Blu-ray title at least offers longtime fans of these auteurs a chance to see what their long out-of-print early lark was like. Crimewave is a gritty, skuzzy, surprisingly unappealing movie, but as a benchmark in the Raimi’s and the Coens’ careers, it’s a uniquely fascinating exercise. I’m just glad it’s back in print.