Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Darkman - DVD - 23/3/10

Released twenty years ago this Sam Raimi movie was based on a short story written by the director himself and is, at its heart, a homage to the horror and superhero films of the 1930's and 1940's. It features cartoonish villains, an anti-hero and a damsel in distress. It is also, undeniably, a Raimi film with wild visual flourishes, hammy dialogue but a strong moral at its heart.

Liam Neeson stars as Peyton Westlake who is a scientist trying to develop a synthetic skin. Unfortunately the skin he has created only lasts for 99 minutes before the cells begin to break apart...unless they are kept in the dark. When Peytons lawyer girlfriend takes possession of a document that could prove damaging for some gangsters he finds himself being horribly disfigured by the crooks and so Darkman is born.

What follows is a series of brilliant set pieces in which Darkman begins to take his revenge on those responsible for his awful predicament. It's easy to see the genesis of Raimis "Spiderman" films here and it is also possible to see the stylistic links to his "Evil Dead" movies. What isn't so easy to see or comprehend is why the studios didn't follow this up with real sequels instead of the straight-to-dvd sequels it did spawn.

An enjoyable, old fashioned comic book romp.

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