Movie Review-Darkman (Collector’s Edition)

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Review-Just think if the internet was around when Darkman came out in 1990. “How can Raimi not make us another Evil Dead film”. “Sell Out”. “Why not cast Michael J Fox or Andrew McCarthy as Darkman”. I remember the last week of Summer in 2000 going to see this with a date and really having a blast. The sequels while they made a name somewhat for Larry Drake in part two and Jeff Fahey trying to mount a comeback in Part 3, were not even close to what Darkman was. Sam Raimi made his first mainstream movie the only way he knows how, change the rules and give fans a superhero film that is demented and almost like a reverse telling of the average superhero story. The character alone is a mesh up of Phantom of the Opera, Swamp Thing, The Invisible Man and the dude from Taken. Liam Neeson who like Raimi would go on to bigger things as the years went on, stars here as Peyton Westlake. Peyton is working on a revolutionary synthetic skin. He has yet to perfect this, the skin can only last 100 minutes in daylight before it sizzles and he is exposed and the skin is a puddle beneath him. While the mad doctor is working on this, his girlfriend Julie is dealing with some shady characters in the form of some developers. She discovers almost by mistake an incriminating document that they will want. The guys go to the lab to look for the paper and the goons led by Durant dip Peyton’s face into a vat of acid and blow up his lab. Well, Westlake is presumed dead, but unbeknownst to Julie he’s been taken in to a hospital and labeled a John Doe in a burn ward. His treatments leave him no sense of pain and a rage. From there he escapes from the hospital and makes a lab in an abandoned factory. There he names himself Darkman, and works on the skin. The explosion has left him faceless to an extent, so he is working on trying to get a face for himself. When revenge comes in his mind, he has a computer with him that can simulate any face, so he decides to use that to pretend he is different people to get to his enemies and get his revenge. This came out around the time of Batman and Dick Tracy, and I feel that Raimi at least has more of a heart for the comic book aspect than either of those films. Every scene and feel of this film can be traced back to Marvel or DC, and he succeeds in capturing the style and feel of the comics. Darkman relies so heavily on satire, that the acting is borderline hysterical and just plain odd. This film just has so much passion and heart, that you cannot watch this film and not have a great time with it. Today we are all used to a director like Raimi making big budget films or mainstream, but back then this was really groundbreaking. The budget of this film you can tell he spent it trying to make this film disgusting and very over the top in terms of the chase scenes and special effects. On Blu Ray, this film is beyond a must. I think while at times this film felt like Raimi trying to show restraint, his sense of odd humor is just all over this out of control roller coaster ride. All in all, this is clearly one of the best Shout Factory releases in my eyes, and I am stoked now that I hear we are getting Dog Soldiers and Ginger Snaps soon. If you want to know the origins of Raimi into the mainstream and Liam before he did all those cheesy action films and the abominations to Star Wars, buy this film.

9 out of 10