MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Before Sam Raimi directed the “Spider-Man” movies, he launched his own superhero franchise with “Darkman,” the tale of a scientist who is horribly disfigured in a robbery. After escaping from the hospital, he works to perfect his artificial skin and uses it to infiltrate the group of gangsters that almost killed him.
WHAT I LIKED
Coming out on the heels of Tim Burton’s “Batman” at the turn of the decade from the 80s to the 90s, “Darkman” was just a hell of a lot of fun. In retrospect, it’s a better film all around than “Batman,” partly because Prince has nothing to do with it, but more because it follows a very typical superhero story. Ten years before Raimi slung a web, he was showing the anointed Hollywood directors that a superhero movie with a real comic book feel could work on the big screen.
Everything about “Darkman” makes it a classic for me. From Danny Elfman’s powerful score to Raimi’s frenetic POV shooting. It’s an intense film that isn’t afraid of getting ugly. People get shot. People die. People get their damned fingers chopped off. Bridging the gap between action and science fiction, “Darkman” was groundbreaking and ahead of its time.
And no discussion of “Darkman” is complete without a nod to a then-lesser-known Liam Neeson in the title role and the now-odd choice of Frances McDormand as the love interest. But it was really Larry Drake who stole the show as the crime boss Durant. That’ll be just fine!
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Okay, I’ll admit this movie is cheesy as hell by today’s standards. It was cheesy as hell by the standards of its day. But that’s part of the fun. It still embodies the corny comic book dialogue, meter and motivations that really touched me when I saw it in my teens.
Sadly, there’s nothing but the film on the Blu-ray. But since it’s the only way to see it in hi-def without a retro HD-DVD player, it’s a good buy in my book.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Sam Raimi fans and comic book aficionados.