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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you thought Batman was dark, you ain't seen nothin yet!
Sam Raimi has always been an amazing director, marking his territory as a stylish director with the insane Evil Dead films, which managed to scare and delight audiences while being made on a miniscule budget. Usually when a director is given a bigger budget they tend to overdo things because they have the budget to. But not Raimi. His first big budget Hollywood film...
Published on 12 Oct 2000 by crizzel@talk21.com

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and bleak '90s vigilante movie
While it's showing its age a little bit in a few areas, such as the 'gang-speak', slick villains and the style of the action, this is still a fascinating and fun vigilante movie. Written by schlock-master Chuck Pfarrer (Navy SEALs among others), the plot is determined to focus on character angst and lots of violence, and it's a fun ride. Sam Raimi directs it with a...
Published on 4 Aug 2011 by Benminx


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you thought Batman was dark, you ain't seen nothin yet!, 12 Oct 2000
By 
crizzel@talk21.com (UK, Abingdon, Oxfordshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Darkman [VHS] [1990] (VHS Tape)
Sam Raimi has always been an amazing director, marking his territory as a stylish director with the insane Evil Dead films, which managed to scare and delight audiences while being made on a miniscule budget. Usually when a director is given a bigger budget they tend to overdo things because they have the budget to. But not Raimi. His first big budget Hollywood film Darkman has a far better storyline and isn't a film that relies on fx to get peoples attention. The story of a scientist, Dr Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) who is slain by an evil mob killer (deliciously played by Larry Drake, and as unlike his LA Law character as you could possibly get) and seeks revenge while trying to save the girl he loves (Frances McDormand) could be your usual B movie fodder. But Raimi adds so much more to it. Neeson plays the dual roles of Darkman and Westlake well, especially when he is trying to control the rage that is inside him as Westlake, and destroy the evil that surrounds him as Darkman. Frances McDormand (in one of her only mainstream movie appearances) isn't your usual damsel in distress, and you see more of a relationship between them than in most films of the genre where the woman is just the bait for the evil killer. In many ways this film is like David Cronenbergs The Fly focusing on what happens to a man who is thrown into a situation he cannot control, and Raimi's visual flair is reminiscent of the dark gothic feel of the first (and best) Batman film. All in all a classic of the horror genre with some dark humour and great action set-pieces (the demolition site finale is great) plus a lovely Raimi afficiando in joke at the end makes this more than just an expensive B movie. I can't wait to see what Raimi does with Spiderman!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The makings of a cerian director called Sam Raimi, 6 July 2007
This review is from: Darkman [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
In "Darkman," director Sam Raimi's first mainstream studio effort after the runaway success of "The Evil Dead" (1982) and its sequel "Evil Dead II" (1987), the audience sees double. Well, not always, but it does feature a hero who is able to assume the physical identities of his enemies in an effort to cause confusion amongst their ranks in his quest of bloody vengeance.

How does he do it, you ask? Through science, of course. Raimi has a wild imagination (which showed itself throughout the rampant mania of his "Evil Dead" movies) and his reputation precedes him everywhere he goes. Such is the case with "Darkman," his ode to the superhero genre after attempts to obtain the rights to "The Shadow" failed. With a legion of screenwriters at his disposal including brother Ivan, Chuck Pfarrer, Daniel Goldin and Joshua Goldin, the end result is "Darkman," the blood kin of all the wronged superheroes out there who leave behind their old lives and loved ones to dedicate themselves to fighting crime.

In 1990, after the success of the comic book adaptation "Batman" (1989) and other then-recent works like "Dick Tracy" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," it was a revolution to see a completely original hero take the movies by storm that year. Albeit a somewhat typical revenge/sci-fi action-adventure with placings of horror and dark comedy, "Darkman" still has its fair share of flaws, mostly in the script department, plus a few misjudgments on the part of the filmmakers.

As the film opens, Dr. Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is a brilliant scientist on the verge of perfecting a synthetic skin formula but there is one major setback: the skin won't last past 99 minutes in the light, but will last indefinitely in darkness and so the question remains: How do you make the synthetic skin last past 99 minutes in the light? With his live-in girlfriend, attorney Julie Hastings (Frances McDormand), his life seems idyllic, and complete, and he's about to pop the "m"-word to Julie. But Peyton loses it all when gangsters led by the bloodthirsty and cigar-smoking Robert Durant (Larry Drake) break into his lab searching for a memo that implicates Julie's employer Robert Strack, Jr. (Colin Friels) in a land development scheme.

Durant and his henchmen beat up Westlake, kill his lab assistant, dip him in a conveniently placed vat of acid, and blow up his lab with him still inside it. The blast doesn't kill him, but leaves him burned beyond recognition. Once in the hospital after being fished out of a river, he is subjected to a radical new medical procedure that renders him unable to feel pain but leaves him with augmented strength and uncontrolled rage. Using his resources, Westlake rebuilds his lab (think, the Bat Cave for working-class men and disfigured scientists) and goes to work trying to perfect the skin formula and get back at his attempted assassins. The synthetic skin comes in handy because it allows Westlake to assume the identities of Durant and his goons, playing them against each other and allowing them to wallow in the confusion generated by Westlake's antics.

Although "Darkman" gets by on the strength of its originality, there are some lines in the script that seem utterly pained and forced by the actors. "Darkman" also works well as a superhero movie, if you care to categorize it as that, but the ending action scenes really make Westlake seem more like a generic action hero because, where would a lab scientist learn how to dodge bullets, grenades, and fight like he's done this stuff before? (He's not supposed to be a Schwarzenegger, a Stallone, or a Norris.) But I guess, since it's a superhero movie, an ending confrontation such as this is unavoidable.

If those are some of the major drawbacks, then there is a lot more working in its favor, chiefly the performances. Neeson, spending much of his time hidden behind hideous burn makeup that is compliments of Tony Gardner and Larry Hamlin, is thoroughly convincing as the superhero Darkman. And we come to admire his pitiable attempts to return to his former life. It's also quite admirable with the way the film explores how Westlake is risking becoming the very thing he hates on the inside by exacting vengeance on his would-be assassins. Also, his scenes with love interest Frances McDormand are fairly touching as his fears of rejection by her because of his outward appearance are dealt with in a realistic fashion.

Director Raimi shows considerable control over his material, even if the effort is uneven in the end. "Darkman" isn't a bad first mainstream effort for a filmmaker who's making a huge leap from the independent market. While the inevitable sequels have proved to be horrid affairs, "Darkman" shows that not every great idea is meant to be consumed for the masses.
On an endnote, remember that this same director helmed the directorial reins for a certain billion dollar franchise entitled...Spiderman
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkman Blu-ray, 7 Mar 2012
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Was nice to roll back the years watching this again and seeing a younger Liam Neeson in good form. This will work on UK Blu-ray players, so it is certainly worth importing rather than waiting for a UK release
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars “I'm everyone - and no-one. Everywhere - nowhere. Call me... Darkman.”, 19 Jun 2014
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Darkman [Blu-ray] [1990] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
It’s perhaps fitting that Darkman was released in Universal’s 75th anniversary year since Sam Raimi’s film is a playful reworking of the studio’s mad scientist films of the 40s that throws in bits of the Mummy (the bandages) and the Phantom of the Opera (the cape and hat) into the hero’s unwanted makeover, with a bit of the Hulk’s anger management issues thrown into the mix. Liam Neeson’s the researcher working on synthetic skin (how Dr X would have approved) who finds himself needing the stuff when his lab is destroyed, his face disfigured and his nerves severed courtesy of self-congratulatory crooked property developer Colin Friels and gay gangster Larry Drake. The only problem is that his invention is highly unstable in daylight and only lasts 99 minutes and the surgery that kept him alive makes him prone to violent outburst when he doesn’t win pink elephants at fairgrounds. But it is particularly useful when he wants to sow confusion among his enemies and set them against each other…

The tone is somewhere between a real comic book feel and an old 40s movie serial with gothic horror overtones and the odd nod to Hitchcock, with fiendishly inventive and occasionally appropriately operatic direction. It keeps the violence just cartoonish enough for the outrageousness to feel entirely appropriate and the mix of sight gags and daring stunt work from jarring. And some of the stunt work is very impressive indeed - for my money the helicopter sequence is more impressive than anything in Raimi’s Spider-Man films because instead of CGi it’s very obviously a real person hanging hundreds of feet above the air and what seems like yards from a pursuing helicopter as they weave through skyscrapers and along the freeway. It’s let down by some poor optical compositing in some of the more vertiginous close-ups (you won’t believe for a moment it’s Neeson at the end of the rope even if his face wasn’t covered for much of the film), but even that gets a pass because of the film’s comic book styling. It also gives great montage courtesy of the legendary Pablo Ferro while there’s splendid finger-collecting villainy from Larry Drake, then best known for playing the mentally disabled janitor on L.A. Law but here excelling as a kind of stone-cold Edward G. Robinson who doesn’t revel in the killing but is very, very good at it. All this and an unbilled cameo from Jenny Agutter as a doctor too (“I give him a nine on the buzzard scale”) as well as a final shot appearance from someone very familiar from Sam Raimi’s other films. If anything, it’s probably more fun now than when it came out in 1990.

Shout Factory’s Region A-locked Blu-ray uses the same transfer that disappointed many as Universal’s barebones release, but it’s more a case of not being outstanding quality than being particularly poor, Universal’s usual DNR and edge enhancement antics not seeming quite so distracting in this particular visual landscape. To compensate, there’s a very impressive extras package, with Raimi’s understandable absence from new features (the shoot and argumentative post-production process with the studio were not a happy experience for him) countered by an excellent new interview with Larry Drake, new interviews with Neeson, Francis McDormand (who skirts around her well-publicised disagreements with Raimi throughout the shoot and includes a bizarre anecdote about Ken Loach and ‘fascist cars’ with automatic seatbelts), onscreen henchmen Dan Bell and Danny Hicks, makeup man Tony Gardner and production designer Randy Ser as well as an audio commentary by cinematographer Bill Pope. There’s also a very generous collection of original promotional material including surprisingly lengthy interviews with Raimi, Neeson, McDormand and Colin Friels that are more detailed than the usual EPK soundbites, original promotional featurette, 12 TV spots, trailer and stills, effects, storyboard and poster galleries. And thankfully the not very good new sleeve artwork commissioned for Shout’s release can be reversed for the superior original poster design.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked B Movie Horror Thriller, 2 Mar 2014
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Darkman [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Dvd Info.
Running time 91 minutes approx, Extras: Trailer, Region 2,.

Trivia.
1)Bill Paxton was frontrunner to be cast as Payton Westlake/Darkman but told his friend Liam Neeson about the role, When Neeson got cast Paxton refused to talk to Neeson for months.
2)Julia Robert's was almost cast as Julie Hasting but her role in Pretty Woman precluded her involvement.
3)Gary Oldman was also considered to play the part of Payton Westlake/Darkman.
4)Two back to back made for video movie's were made in 1995 with The Mummys Arnold Vosloo starring as Darkman.
5)Spot the cameos, Bruce Campbell, American Werewolf In London Director John Landis, Jenny Agutter & brother of director Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi.
6)This was Sam Raimi first attempt at a comic book movie, it would be 12 year's later he would become more synonymous with the original Spider-Man movie trilogy.
7)Demi Moore & Bridget Fonda tested for the Julie Hastings role.

Synopsis.

Scientist Payton Westlake has discovered a way of producing synthetic skin, Trouble is after 99 minutes the skin deteriorates due to the exposure of light.

When Gangsters led by Robert G.Durant attack Payton in his lab seeking a misplaced file that could incriminate there boss, Payton is brutality attacked, Doused in chemicals & horrifically burned left for dead as his lab is destroyed in a huge explosion.

But his exposure to certain chemicals have made Payton stronger & is unable to feel painany pain but is prone to violent rages, As this traumatic experience has left Payton badly burnt & disfigured.

Escaping from the hospital Payton seeks revenge on those that have taken away his life as he rebulids a laboratory & now under the guise of Darkman creates masks from the synthetic skin he created as he is able to take on the apperance of anybdy he likes but at a price as the synthetic skin only lasts just 99 minutes.

Payton now Darkman set's about seeking vengeance on to those who have wronged him as crime has a brand new enemy & justice has a brand new face.

Timelord Thoughts.
This movie starring Liam Neeson is seemingly overlooked, Made in 1990 & directed by Sam Raimi does have moment's of Evil Dead type humour but does delivers a classic horror story with a modern twist.

Yes some of the FX sequences have dated & the movie could've done with a bigger budget but the story is a interesting one & Liam Neeson is excellent in the starring role as Payton Westlake/Darkman bringing a genuine darkness to the Darkman character yet shows a more tender emotional side in his love for his fiancee Julie.

Larry Drake is brilliant as the villian Robert G Durant & delivers a humourous yet eerie performance as the sequence were he keeps fingers as trophies is quite disturbing yet Drake manages to pull off making this particular character likeable.

This is a enjoyable B movie directed by Evil Dead/Spider-Man director Sam Raimi who with a slightly bigger budget could've made this bolder movie yet strangely being a B movie is actually part of the movie's charm.

A enjoyable action packed horror movie with a strong performances by Liam Neeson & Larry Drake.

Timelord Rating.
8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enter Darkman., 15 Jun 2014
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Darkman [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Sam Raimi’s trial run for the Spider-Man franchise is a whole bunch of fun. Liam Neeson plays Dr. Peyton Westlake, a super scientist who after a major run-in with the villainous Robert G. Durant (Larry Drake), reinvents himself as Darkman, a super-anti-hero who sets about ridding L.A. of its mobsters.

It’s a comic book film that isn’t based on a comic book, Raimi inventing his own tortured protagonist whilst homaging similar beings of eras past. All the silliness of such fare is here of course, overblown violence and colourful characters are frequent, but there’s good thought gone into the revenge theme, while the action sequences are often excellent. The pace hardly sags, as Raimi’s creations move about a Los Angeles that is equally decaying or affluent, and in Neeson the story has a lead actor with swagger, pathos and emotional force in abundance. 7/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Despite It's Unintentional Comedy This is Still a Winner from Raimi, 12 July 2013
This review is from: Darkman [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
The only problem I have with Darkman is that on repeated viewings this could be seen as a comedy. However try and forget that. This film came out just a few months after the often hyped up but decent Batman film- But Darkman is the better one.

A dark, gnastly tale of deformation and revenge. Liam Neeson does his best as the acid victim who can transplant a new face on his, but only for a limited time. He plays the tragic hero well.

The bad guys could have been better- we're talking Knight Rider bad guys here.
But there is enough action and coolness to please any fan. And any film directed by the great Sam Raimi is going to tick the boxes.

If you haven't seen this film give it a go- it made real noise when it was first released and this seems justified even today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darkman, 23 April 2013
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Such a classic I love this movie plus the movie looks pretty good on HD I don't regret the purchase!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and bleak '90s vigilante movie, 4 Aug 2011
This review is from: Darkman [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
While it's showing its age a little bit in a few areas, such as the 'gang-speak', slick villains and the style of the action, this is still a fascinating and fun vigilante movie. Written by schlock-master Chuck Pfarrer (Navy SEALs among others), the plot is determined to focus on character angst and lots of violence, and it's a fun ride. Sam Raimi directs it with a signature mix of slightly absurd humour and enthusiastic horror, as the hero scientist scarred in an apparent gangland attack tries to piece his life back together while plotting revenge.
Liam Neeson is decent as Westlake/Darkman, although his accent slips from American back to Irish many times. He gets to play several emotional extremes, from happy pre-attack Westlake, the emotionally unstable and rage prone scarred victim, and the nasty and revenge fixated Darkman. He pulls it off with aplomb, although Raimi allows him to go rather over the top into charicature in the 'rage' sequences, which isn't helped by a silly graphic showing neurons firing in his brain and his vision turning red every time he gets angry. However, his Darkman is an emotionally complex scarred monster (we really mean 'monster' - they've been brave enough to make him utterly hideous) who keenly feels the pain that society will reject his appearance, but is furiously determined to seek and kill those that did it to him.
Everybody else is just 'decent '90s action' in their acting style, but engaging enough to sweep the film along.
Kudos goes to the make-up effects, which make Darkman a memorable character and still stand up 20 years later.
The film also has some exciting chases, and a nervewracking climax.
It's a mildly dated but very interesting and enjoyable classic which deserves to be in the collection of anybody who likes vigilante heroes or dark comic-book style tales, and I couldn't help thinking that it would be stunning if remade today, due to its originality and it's 'The Dark Knight' feeling of bleakness and violence.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 14 July 2014
By 
Lars Jönlid (gothenburg Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Darkman [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Naah !
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Darkman [Blu-ray] [1990] [US Import]
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