Darkman II: The Return of Durant
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2005
The lack of Liam neeson and raimi's directing is what ruined this movie for me. While Mr. Vasloo is superb in his taking on the burden of the Liam created character and mr. Drake always has appeal, the movie as a whole needed a much better script. It was too predicatble, too phoney.

On the bonus side, they did manage to keep the hapahazard and crazy comments Darkman makes during chases and fight scenes in tact, so that was a plus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2010
It's been about 10 years since I saw Sam Raimi's original 'Darkman' but I decided to give this direct-to-video sequel a try for a number of reasons. First off it stars one of my favorite villains, Arnold Vosloo ('Hard Target' which was also produced by Raimi and Robert Tapert), second it also features the super sexy Kim Delaney ('NYPD Blue') and finally it was only a $1 brand new. As a movie it's pretty terrible due to its over-the-top and cartoonish nature. But as a comic book movie it's very entertaining. It tries very hard (and occasionally succeeds) to recapture the style and spirit of the original.

Now that Peyton Westlake (Vosloo) has defeated his mortal enemy Durant (Larry Drake) he can focus all his energy into his life's work - creating a synthetic mask that will cover his horribly disfigured face. The only problem is that in all of his experiments he can never get the mask to last longer than 99 minutes. Peyton joins forces with a fellow scientist who's also working to create a synthetic mask. His experiments have been more successful since his mask can last for nearly 3 hours. Before these two can perfect the mask, the scientist is murdered by Durant who wants to inherit the scientist's giant warehouse and conduct his own experiments. (Even though Durant was killed in a helicopter explosion in the first film, he somehow managed to survive with only minor scars and debilitating migraines to show for it.) In an effort to corner the arms market, Durant has also joined forces with a scientist, only this one is working on an atomic laser gun which Durant plans to sell to rival dealers in the hopes that they'll wipe each other out with the new super-weapon. With both Westlake and Durant scrambling to complete their experiments it's only a matter of time before their paths cross and they realize the other one is still alive. After this inevitably happens, there's only one person Peyton can trust - an ambitious reporter named Rachel (Delaney).

Like I said the film is totally campy and over-the-top but in a good way. These are precisely the elements you look for in a good comic book movie. With the exception of some subpar special effects the film looks good. There's lots of dark alleyways, spooky thunder and lightning and loud explosions to jolt the senses. The action scenes, as low key as they are, rely on archive footage from the first film a bit too heavily. One of that film's best gags, Peyton creating a Durant mask to infiltrate his inner circle, is repeated here twice but with Durant's henchmen this time. The script makes up for any inconsistencies by supplying an endless amount of great one liners, most of them delivered by Drake. If there is such a thing as a best performance it would probably be him. He seems to genuinely be enjoying the chance to recreate the elegant and eccentric title character. Vosloo, in a rare leading role, does an okay job as Westlake. He doesn't fare as well as Darkman though constantly screaming "Durant!" at the top of his lungs and smashing his fists on whatever hard surface is in front of him for added dramatic effect. Delaney is given the least to do out of anyone. But she's super beautiful to look at. That seems to be the theme of the film - no matter how dumb things get or over-the-top they are, there's always something visually interesting to look at.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2000
I bought this title because Arnold Vosloo was a leading member of the cast, and I've come to appreciate his characterizations. I'd not seen the original Darkman, so I had no preconceived notions of what the series was like, I therefore enjoyed it more than a connoisseur of the genera might have. I did seen Darkman III first, however, and enjoyed it more; perhaps because I enjoyed Jeff Fahey as a bad-guy more than I did Larry Drake. They do say that the quality of the villain makes the film. I also thought Mr. Vosloo's Darkman was more brittle in II than in III. Perhaps the quality of the bad guy effected his performance too, or maybe he was just getting used to his character and the series and was only beginning to develop his own particular point of view on both. I tend to agree with the reviewers who felt that the series would make a better subject for TV than for Cinema.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2004
I have never heard of the superhero called Darkman before and never saw the first Darkman movie. After reading all the bad reviews about him I expected him to be a badly created person and the movies with him themselves being bad. I guess I was wrong because when I saw Darkman 2, I was wowed! This movie has everything, great costume designs, good script, perfect plot, a lot of action, and is a movie that makes you want find out what happens next. Fans of comic book movies will love this movie and this is a must have for them and others. Truly, truly loved it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ok we all know how crappy 99% of direct to video moviesare, and even worse when they are sequels to a big movie, most times they lack the heart along with the budget.
but here we have a movie that is every bit as good as the original, camera work, style, feel for the character is all there, heck we even get some returning cast in Durant, now darkman is played by a different actor (Vosloo from the mummy movies) but since the character always wears fake skin and changes faces like we change shorts it does not matter what face he has, i say he changed his face so people didn't go "hey doctor westlake..ain't you dead?" every time he talks to someone.
we get a solid action movie that does not look like it was shot on a video budget, sure it's not a $100 million looking movie but it does look like soemthing we would see in the theaters.
the movie is not exactly original, it's kind of standard action, but a much more darker hero, something like a punisher or batman one a really bad day, and that's a good thing, too many heroes are not this tragic or badass.
it's not based on a comic book but comic fans should enjoy it, rami came up with the character when he could not get the rights to any other comic or super heroes, it was his superhero..now he does spider-man movies, a big step up huh? he may not direct this one but his style from the first is kept so the rami fans should check it out.
so is closing, i loved it for what it is, and i was glad i didn't hold off becuse it was direct to video..heck if they release part 3 i will check it out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2004
First for the warning...I bought this DVD over Christmas but didn't get around to watching it. Surprise! When I got around to opening the DVD it was missing in the sealed case. So make sure you check all your DVDs after you buy them. Especially some of these cheap Universal discs. Great deal when they include the DVD.
So about the film itself? Well it's decent. It continues the cool Darkman character. It lacks the amazing acting of the first film but there are plenty of Darkman bits. Both 2 & 3 lean more for the cheese but are fun in their own way. Don't expect the original, but if you liked Robocop 2 or 3 then you'll love Darkman 2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2000
This movie was okay. Vosloo was alright. Larry Drake was fine. But what drew me to watch this sequel is Renee Connor in one of her pre-Xena appearances. Though her character needed to be written with more depth and background she did a wonderful job as Laurie Brinkman. What I can't understand is why Kim Delaney gets higher billing when her screen time is miniscule compared to Renee's and Kim's part could be deleted and not effect the film.
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Considering this is a direct-to-video sequel to a hit film missing it's star, the film is very good. It manages to capture the look and feel of the first film better than you'd expect. Not 100% mind you, but the title sequence and the flashes of Darkman's rage and the music are duplicated perfectly. This no doubt has to do with Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert being on board as executive producers. It's the return of Durant(that's Robert G Durant to you), and he's no mere henchman this time around, but the big cheese. It's a bit difficult to believe he actually survived that helicopter crash, and even more difficult to believe that if he did survive, that he wouldn't be covered with major third degree burns not unlike Darkman himself. But this is a B action film, who the hell cares? Did we question why Arcane just showed up in Return of the Swamp Thing all alive and healthy for no logical reason? Of course not, you just accept it. Durant's got a plan to corner the market on arms sales by creating one big whoopass gun, but he's having a few problems with some folks who won't sell their building so Durant can convert it to a manufacturing plant. Add to that, Darkman problems. Darkman has now become full fledged crimefighter(at least I think so. In the beginning he puts the hurt on a guy who was shooting up a car full of people, but then switches his attention solely to Durant), and lives a kind of Batman existence underground. He even has a mini railway car. He's still having a hell of a time trying to get that synthetic skin to hold together though. He finds hope in another scientist who's working on the same thing, but that's quickly down the tubes coz the scientist is the guy who won't sell Durant his building....and we all know what happens when folks don't cooperate with Durant, don't we? So now Darkman's double pissed. Again he tries to infiltrate Durant's organization through his clever disguises and it all leads to an explosive showdown as you would expect from this kind of film. Though most of it's by the numbers, this movie is pretty good. Don't be discouraged by the fact that Liam Neeson isn't here. After all, he had more important things to do like star in that rotten Star Wars movie(Rob Roy was cool though!). Arnold Vosloo isn't what you'd call a household name, but most folks might remember him as the guy who played the mummy in the films with Brendan Fraser. Vosloo was actually picked by Raimi and Tapert as Neeson's replacement, and it's easy to see why. I actually like Vosloo better as Darkman. He's got charisma, charm. Hell, the guy is smooth. And when needed he can jump into action mode, no problem. I like Liam Neeson, but he was a little too mumbly and whiney. Vosloo is more of the badass you picture a guy like Darkman to be. Of course a lot more screen time is given to Larry Drake. Actually, I'd even go so far to say he's the star of the film. Great job as always, he looks like he's having fun. Of course he usually looks like he's having fun. A very good performance, a very mean and over the top villain. Darkman 2 is worth checking out, you just might be a bit surprised.
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on April 24, 2004
Let's face it, DARKMAN is the most frightening hero ever created. Sam Raimi's movie was an unforgettable, untouchable, cosmic masterpiece. Truly, one of the five greatest movies of all the times - even more than a cinematic experience.
This one is just a video-sequel, and it is as good as it came out. Despite the third one is far better, "DARKMAN II: THE RETURN OF DURANT" (filmed AFTER "DARKMAN III: DIE, DARKMAN DIE!", that's why it seems such un-inspired and derivative in terms of screenplay, concept and realization) tries to re-create some of the "moments" of Sam Raimi's opus - well, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I have to say the story is very weak. The budget is low, because they spent the majority of money for DARKMAN III, and you can see the difference between the two video-sequels anyway. Who does really matter, however? After all, we were given a slight chance to see our DARKMAN back in action! Arnold Vosloo delivers a good, less-tormented and not that much psychotic DARKMAN alternative version. Larry Drake shines as always.
There's a great fandom for Darkman at westlakedarkman.proboards3.com - It's the proper place if you're a fan.
DO not complain, they'll release a better DVD version, featuring lots of extras. Let's hope the cult-fandom will arise !!!
DARKMAN is still out of there.
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on May 17, 2003
This was about what I expected from a "Darkman" sequel, and I'm glad for that. It doesn't equal the awesome flavor of the first, but it's fun, if not forgettable. The plot: arch-nemesis Durant is back. Somehow, he's survived the helicopter crash from the first and only has one scar on his face to prove it. This is acceptable because Durant was such a great villain and because they got Larry Drake to play him again. Arnold Vosloo (Hard Target, The Mummy) plays Darkman and isn't as bad as I expected. He's different from Liam Neeson, who played our hero in the first, but he's still good and acceptable in the role. There is a lot of really good action scenes and the story is pretty good, if not at times repetitive of the first. What "Darkman 2: The Return of Durant" keeps from the first film is the cool camera work and completely awesome music. Having said this, I recommend this film to anyone who liked the first one and wants to see the story continued. This one does a pretty good job.
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