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4.1 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Arthur Poppington (2009 Golden Globe® Nominee Woody Harrelson- Best Supporting Actor, The Messenger) doesn’t need superpowers or fancy toys to fight crime. Armed only with a childlike sense of wonder and his quirky arsenal of cheap, homemade gadgets, he becomes DEFENDOR! He finds an unexpected partner when he rescues and falls for a local prostitute (Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist). Can the two of them take down the city’s most fearsome crime boss without getting killed in the process?


At first glance, Defendor might look like a slapstick comedy or a low-budget superhero movie, but its DNA lies more with Taxi Driver (though it's considerably gentler in tone than Martin Scorsese's classic). Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson, Zombieland) just wants to make the world a better place; unfortunately, he's a bit dim and has delusions of grandeur that lead him to skulk around the urban jungle in a black turtleneck with a duct-taped D on his chest. His floundering but relentless efforts to bring down a drug-dealing pimp and a crooked undercover cop (Elias Koteas, The Adjuster) earn him the respect of a teen prostitute (Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) and the psychiatrist (Sandra Oh, Sideways) assigned by the court to do a psychiatric evaluation--but that may not be enough to keep him alive when confronted with real danger. The key to Defendor is that, though the plot may be implausible, it's grounded in realistic and well-drawn characters. The excellent cast (also featuring Michael Kelly, whose face will be familiar from many a supporting role) plays everything vividly real, which keeps Arthur's struggle compelling. Defendor is a surprisingly sincere and complex movie, worth watching whether you're a fan of superheroes or not. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

Woody Harrelson, Kat Dennings and Filmmakers Commentary
Deleted Scenes

Product Details

  • Actors: Woody Harrelson, Michael Kelly, Sandra Oh, Kat Dennings, Elias Koteas
  • Directors: Peter Stebbings
  • Producers: Nicholas D. Tabarrok
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Portuguese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Portuguese, Thai, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 13, 2010
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003626TNG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,470 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Defendor" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
While marketed as a comedy, Defendor is actually a dark and touching crime drama. But while you can't expect Woody's comedy antics a la Zombieland, expect one of the best performances of his career.

By day, Arthur Poppington is a construction worker with a below-average IQ. By night, he's Defendor, dishing out justice with makeshift weapons (reminding us in his gruff Batman voice that "guns are for cowards"). But while the movie starts out light and funny, it evolves into something both dark and sad. With the flood of recent superhero movies, Defendor reminds us that reality isn't always so super.

The real story here is the unlikely friendship between Defendor and a drug-addicted prostitute, in his ongoing mission to take down Captain Industry. Woody is terrific in the role, bouncing between his wacky self and a vulnerable man-child who still believes in justice.

For this being his first directing gig, Peter Stebbings hits a bullseye. There's great cinematography and lighting, and Stebbings playfully throws out a few superhero flick cliches. John Rowley serves up one of the best movie scores I've heard in a while, with a powerful and dark superhero soundtrack. The supporting cast is also top-notch, from Elias Koteas and Sandra Oh to Clark Johnson (The Wire/Homicide).

You will enjoy this movie if you go into it with the understanding that it's not a comedy. It's a dark drama with splashes of humor and violence, and a very powerful ending.
6 Comments 37 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Blu-ray
While KICK-ASS (Opening April 16, 2010) got all the press, DEFENDOR has all the heart. A sweet but dark combination of TAXI DRIVER and BATMAN, DEFENDOR answers the question of 'what if super-heroes' existed in a very sentimental yet mature manner. Woody Harrelson's portrayal of Arthur Poppington is just as worthy of an Oscar nomination as his role in THE MESSENGER. Harrelson's Poppington is a mentally challenged adult dealing with a very dark and tragic childhood by taking on the persona of 'The Defendor,' a comic book inspired super-hero. Writer-Director Peter Stebbings captures the true magic and meaning comic book heroes have in our modern society. Placing the innocence of Harrelson's Poppington/Defendor in the midst of a very real city suffering from corrupt cops, drug dealers, child sex trafficers and abused prostitutes makes for a very unique and adult viewing experience. The film is a sometimes lyrical poem, a sad reminder of how it is and how it would be for a real super-hero. Yet, unlike KICK-ASS, DEFENDOR is a reminder that there is value and valor in morality, courage and doing the right thing in the face powerful evil. DEFENDOR, like KICK-ASS, does goes for the laughs. There are moments of brilliant and hilarious humor to be found here, both dark and sweet. Unlike KICK-ASS, there are also moments of genuine sentiment and inspiration. The two films tell the same story in very different ways. It's a shame that KICK-ASS will make millions and become a pop-culture hit while DEFENDOR will have to tough it out on home video. Hopefully, DEFENDOR will develop a cult following and in time get the true praise and audience it deserves.
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Format: DVD
When I saw the previews of this I thought it would be a formulaic comedy, with Woody Harrelson playing a jerk.
I was surprised to find the previews misleading, and Woody's character is actually mildly retarded, and somewhat delusional. It has its moments of humor, but none of it is cruel. Arthur is slow and believes he's a super hero, but no one makes fun of him. In fact they're all somewhat in awe of him and his misguided beliefs in absolute good and evil. It is poignant and actually has some tear jerk moments, along with its moments of almost slapstick humor.
Bottom line - see it.
2 Comments 28 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Reading the user reviews I was pretty sure what I was getting into with this and I was right in the best way. In the wrong hands this could have gone awry and played too much for the laughs. But as it stands here, it's a dark (gun metal gray) comedy but very, very touching.

Woody Harrelson plays the title character who is a bit "slow" and fancies himself a super hero though he has no super powers what so ever. He holds a menial job on a city's street crew and is watched over by his boss. At night he tries to right the wrongs and do away with "Captain Industry" so the world will be a better place. This puts him in harm's way with a big time thug and a corrupt cop. But he's honest to a fault and his honesty doesn't go unnoticed.

It's difficult to say how much I liked this film. Much of this has to do with Woody. Though I don't know if it's his best performance ever, I liked it more than anything else he's done. For my money he played the character to a "T". Yes, Defendor is slow witted but it might also be that he's just horribly naive. He has no wiles at all. He had a bad, neglected childhood, with a mother who succumbed to the dark side with drugs and booze. He was raised by his grandfather who just wasn't very good at it. Defendor wants the world to be a good place. A place he never had.

I like Elias Koteas a lot and he does a good job here. I only know Kat Dennings from "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist" but she's really good here as a girl who may very well go the way of Defendor's mom unless something or some one helps her change direction.

The direction might be considered by some to be too "meat and potatoes", but I think that is what it needed. Too much over statement might have pulled the heart out of it. Here, you get to know the characters.
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