Darkman (1990) mini review

superhero film not based on a comic

Darkman is hitting the comics scene. Oddly enough, this superhero's origins lie in films rather than comics. Currently, Dynamite Entertainment is releasing the mini-series Darkman vs. Army of Darkness - I've picked up the first two but haven't had a chance to read them yet. With his reappearance into pop culture, I thought I'd share my Darkman review.

Liam Neeson is Dr. Westlake, a scientist working on a form of artificial skin. When his path crosses with local mobster Robert Durant (Larry Drake), he is disfigured, blown up, and left for dead. When his unidentified body is found, a radical surgical procedure leaves him feeling no pain, while driving him mad and giving him amazing strength. Not able to go out in public in his grotesque state, he uses his knowledge of artificial skin to disguise himself and take revenge on the gangsters who stole his life. However, his skin has a weakness - if exposed to the light, it dissolves after 99 minutes. Dr. Westlake is now Darkman.

Directed by Sam Raimi (who, incidentally, also directed Army of Darkness, along with the Evil Dead precursor films, and all three Spider-Man films - and was a producer on M.A.N.T.I.S., Timecop, and 30 Days of Night), Darkman is a decent (dark and gothic) superhero action film. It's an enjoyable watch and has an excellent soundtrack (of course, it's Danny Elfman). In parts, a bit corny, but for the most part well-made. The filmmakers experimented with some interesting cinematic effects that make it stand out. Definitely worth picking up if you haven't seen it. Frances McDormand plays Julie, Darkman's love interest, and Nicholas Worth (Barb Wire, Swamp Thing) plays one of Durant's henchmen.

See it if you enjoy good, solid, superhero action films.

Don't see it if you expect much more than a fun popcorn film out of this cult classic.


Bones said...

Darkman is one of my all-time favorite superhero films. I absolutely love Raimi's style. Too bad the direct-to-video sequels were crap.

Jim said...

Good grief - I can't wait to review Darkman II. It is so stupid and cliche...