Saturday, 30 May 2015

Review: Darkman (1990) (May 2015)

Dr. Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is a scientist working on synthetic skin that will last in sunlight for ONLY 90 minutes. He is happily engaged to his girlfriend Julie (played by Francis McDorman) until the evil gang-boss, Robert G Durant (Larry Drake) and crew destroy Westlake's lab over some documents, kill his assistant and blow the place up with the scientist in it! This film quickly becomes a revenge movie when Peyton, who can not feel pain any more, escapes the blaze and is left for dead in a nearby hospital. He escapes and seeks to destroy those who did him wrong by using his burnt out computer and rebuild skin to hide his disfigured and horribly burnt face and body parts! He is still in love with Julie and wants to get her back and seek revenge on Durant and an evil corporation in which Julie is dragged into before she learns it's deadly, evil secrets. Look out for a cameo by Bruce Campbell at the end of this dark action flick.

Following the success of Tim Burton's Batman (1989), the superhero craze was hot in Hollywood. Director, Sam Raimi (before Spiderman [2002]) dared to be bold and use horror in his own creation of Darkman (1990) (Not based on comic book). Comic Books based on the dark, gruesome superhero action film would follow from Marvel. Darkman is very underrated and did well at the box-office in the early 90's on home video. Danny Elfman provides a very gothic and well-set paced score and he would go on to score a number of future Raimi films in Hollywood!

Liam Neeson is well known as a tough guy action hero in films like Taken (2008), but Darkman (1990) came first! He had to act under heavy make-up by Tony Gardner and this Universal Picture was obviously influenced by the Phantom of the Opera (1925) and Raimi's childhood-love for comic books. You can expect twisted camera angles via The Evil Dead (1981) film-maker. Darkman (1990) is a great film and spawned an unreleased TV series Pilot and two direct to video low budget, tv-thrilled sequels. Darkman (1990) is a forgotten gem which deserves a UK blu-ray release one day with special features.

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