Darkman (1990)

Liam Neeson is not a scientist, that’s how you know that this film is messed up.

In director Sam Raimi’s moody, intense thriller, brilliant scientist Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is almost killed by gangsters in a massive explosion. Unstable and disfigured, Peyton becomes Darkman, an impossibly strong, tormented antihero. Able to spend only moments in the sunlight, Darkman begins a quest to rekindle his love with his girlfriend (Frances McDormand), who he’s held at a distance, and to take vengeance on his enemies.

The funny thing about Darkman is that it looks like a comic book movie (Batman, Dick Tracy), though it features an original screenplay. It has all the elements of one of those origin episodes that the comic book fans love to collect, and how they discover how that superhero turned out to be that way and why.

One thing that you soon may notice about Darkman that it acts and looks like a horror film, when really its a natural tale based on revenge. A lot of elements are thrown together to make this wild fest filled with blend of comic book action, sets, and characters, pitch black humor, and sci-fi/horror violence. I wasn’t expecting anything different from a Raimi film, but what this is still a nice and well-worked blend.

There are a lot of original things that go on in this film. Sometimes the action is really cool to look at, and there are a lot of other scenes where Darkman uses some of his smart tricks to fool others thinking he is still dead.

The one problem I had with this film was that Darkman the character was not very compelling. He obviously has a reason for killing all these people, but compared to other super heroes such as Batman and Superman, he doesn’t have much of a personality and we can’t really connect to him as an audience.

Occasionally the film does get a bit silly with its very cheap one-liners, and cliche script. But the villains didn’t seem so bad either. They just seemed like people that were part of the mob nothing really different, and I think anybody, super powers or no super powers could have easily killed them.

Liam Neeson does try his hardest with the character but isn’t given much to play with. He does have little scenes where he goes into rage and it seems believable just not memorable, and falls by the waist side of this character.

Consensus: Darkman is well-directed, and at times a very fun picture, but isn’t too memorable, that features an uninteresting superhero, and gang of villains.


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