Gleefully goofy, Raven is action-adventure schlock about American martial arts master Jonathon Raven (Jeffrey Meek), forever on the run from ninja assassins who want to kill him because oh, who cares, it’s all too ridiculous. Raven, created by Frank Lupo (Wiseguy), exists for two reasons: to show us beautifully shot, wittily choreographed martial arts fight scenes, and to provide employment in the ’90s for Lee Majors, who costars as Raven’s sidekick, Ski. These days Majors looks more like the Six Million Pound Man, and so in Raven, he uses his bulk as part of the joke: Ski is a hard-drinking, stubble-faced, overweight grump who talks in a voice so raspy it sounds as if Raven accidentally karate-kicked him in the vocal cords.
A double-CD ode to Edgar Allan Poe by Lou Reed is indeed a curious thing, and I looked ahead at the chance to review it with a mixture of eagerness and dread. Would it be a flight of musical freedom, or would it be the worst sort of art-school project? The question remained open with the inclusion of guests such as Willem Dafoe, Steve Buscemi, Elizabeth Ashley, Amanda Plummer, as well as David Bowie, Ornette Coleman, and many more. The opening piece, "The Conqueror Worm," seemed promising.