I am Darkman obsessed. I collect anything I can on Darkman, so it’s quite strange that it’s taken me so long to actually do a review, but here it is. Dr. Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is a brilliant scientist. He is working on a synthetic skin which will be used to help burn victims in covering their scars. However the skin only lasts 99mins before disintegrating. Peyton discovers that it’s the skins exposure to light that causes it to disintegrate. As he gets closer to a solution, a vicious gang, led by the evil Robert Durant (Larry Drake), break into Peyton’s lab looking for a memo that Peyton’s girlfriend Julie (Frances McDormand) has come into possession of. They trash the lab and leave Peyton for dead. When the lab explodes in a ball of flames, Peyton is thrown from the building but left horribly scarred.
Julie, believing Peyton to be dead, grieves and tries to move on with her life. Peyton however is deep in a coma at hospital. All of his nerve endings have been completely destroyed meaning he feels no pain and his strength has increased. Peyton escapes from the hospital eager for revenge. He takes on the mantle of Darkman and one by one, tracks down those responsible for his condition. Using the synthetic skin he created, Peyton takes on the faces of those he is seeking to destroy, working his way through the gang until he reaches Durant.
Peyton reaches out to Julie to let her know he is still alive, however when Durant realises Julie’s relationship to Peyton/Darkman, he uses that as a way of luring Darkman out of hiding. I love this film. Directed by Sam Raimi it really is great fun. The reason Raimi made this movie was actually because he couldn’t get the rights to The Shadow. So he decided to do a hero of his own, someone who fights for those that can’t protect themselves. I for one am glad he did.
Liam Neeson is brilliant as Darkman. Yes he does tend to overact in places, but I find that just adds to the cheesy comic book feel of the movie. Frances McDormand however is sadly miscast as Julie. There is zero chemistry between her and Peyton, and it’s almost like she doesn’t even want to be there. Larry Drake is brilliant as the cackling villain Durant, with a few strange habits of his own. Also watch out for a blink and you’ll miss it cameo from Bruce Campbell at the end.