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Dr. Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is on the verge of realizing a major breakthrough in synthetic skin when a gang, led by the sadistic Robert G. Durant (Larry Drake), obliterates his laboratory.Burned beyond recognition and altered by an experimental medical procedure, Westlake attempts to rebuild his laboratory and reestablish ties with his former girlfriend Julie (Frances McDormand). But his most challenging task lies within himself.Torn between his desire to create a new life with Julie and his quest for revenge, the man known as Darkman begins to assume alternate identities in this stunning, fast-paced action thriller from director Sam Raimi.
When attorney Julie Hastings (Frances McDormand) uncovers corrupt city real estate dealings, evil thugs attack her scientist boyfriend, Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson). Left for dead after his lab is detonated, he miraculously survives when the ensuing blast hurls him into the nearby harbor. Treated as a John Doe at a city hospital, he is unknowingly submitted to radical therapy which numbs his nerves to feeling--but which heightens his strength and his emotions. Once conscious, Peyton escapes from the hospital and builds a ramshackle lab in an abandoned industrial plant. Horribly burned and scarred by the lab explosion, he uses synthetic skin to impersonate his would-be murderers and seek retribution for their evil deeds. Peyton also tries to reunite with Julie, who believes him to be dead. While the film has an average script, it is overcome by the flashy cinematography of Bill Pope, the bombastic score by Danny Elfman, and the well-choreographed direction of Sam Raimi. The director confidently walks the line between suspense, action, comedy, and romance as he examines a bitter, victimized antihero who risks becoming as monstrous on the inside as he appears on the outside. --Bryan Reesman
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Interview with Liam Neeson (1080p; 7:29). Neeson has very clear memories of this film, including other actors who were up for his role. He evidently loved working with Raimi and offers some fun anecdotes about the shoot.
The Name is Durant with Larry Drake (1080p; 15:59). Drake is a lot of fun in this interview, talking about the hazards of being typecasting as well as why he liked working on Darkman.
The Face of Revenge with Makeup Designer Tony Gardner (1080p; 13:21) is a really interesting piece detailing the film's makeup effects.
Henchmen Tales (1080p; 12:57) profiles some of the other bad guys in the film.
Dark Design (1080p; 16:46) looks at the film's production design and includes interviews with Randy Ser.
An Interview with Frances McDormand (1080p; 10:50). McDormand talks about her history with the Coen Brothers and Sam Raimi. Unbelievable but true fact: she was a word processor answering fan mail for AC/DC when she was cast in this film. The clips in this piece are weirdly anamorphically squeezed for some reason.
Darkman Featurette (1080i; 6:26) is a vintage piece.
Cast and Crew Interviews (1080i; 8:59) are more vintage offerings.
Vintage Interview Galleries include:
Colin Friels (1080i; 12:14)
Frances McDormand (1080i; 20:43)
Liam Neeson (1080i; 28:02)
Sam Raimi (1080i; 23:09)
Audio Commentary with Director of Photography Bill Pope and Michael Felsher.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!
THOUGHTS: Part homage to the classic Universal Monster films of the 1930's & 40's, part hybrid of Phantom of the Opera & The Abominable Dr. Phibes, part comic book ...and 110% Sam Raimi. DARKMAN wasn't the hit it should have been when arrived in theaters back in 1990. Mainstream audiences then just weren't quite ready for Sam's one-of-a-kind, hyperkenetic visual storytelling style. It took almost a decade before they'd caught up and were finally ready to embrace him. DARKMAN paved the way for Sam to get access to SPIDER-MAN. There almost certainly would never have been a Sam Raimi SPIDER-MAN if DARKMAN hadn't gotten him noticed by the bigwigs in Hollywood. Before then he was only barely known as a maverick director of low budget genre films like his Evil Dead trilogy. DARKMAN put him on the map, in a big way.
THE BLU-RAY: Shout!Factory really knocks one out of the park for this deluxe Blu-ray edition of Sam Raimi's 1990 cult classic DARKMAN. The transfer looks very nice; clean, sharp picture, strong color and crisp, nicely-balanced audio. It's worth every penny to upgrade to this beautiful edition if you've got a Blu-ray player. Shout! has also gone to the extra mile for fans and delivered a truly impressive variety of newly created bonus material. Brand new interviews with the film's primary acting cast: leading man Liam Neeson, ballsy damsel in distress Frances McDormand, and slimeball extraordinaire Larry Drake. Usually, actors don't care to discuss past projects unless they've won lots of awards or were big box office successes. Darkman under-performed during its theatrical run, only becoming a hit after finding its audience on home video & cable. It's great to see the three main actors not only willing to talk about a smaller film like this one but to do it with so much enthusiasm. Neeson is a big name now, but he shows his love of the film and shares warm memories of the cast & crew. The same goes for Drake & McDormand. Nice job getting these done and including them.
But that's not all folks! There are also new interviews from two of the actors who portrayed Durant's henchmen, reminiscing about their roles and sharing their memories of the shoot. Then the interviews shift focus to the technical aspects of the production, with all-new interviews from practical make-up artist Tony Gardner, (who created the beautifully gruesome Darkman prosthetic make-ups), and achieving the look of the film with production designer Randy Ser & art director Philip Dagort. There's also an interesting audio commentary track from DOP (director of photography) Bill Pope. Original vintage interviews, actor profiles and the theatrical trailer are included as well, plus galleries of rare artwork, production stills, etc. You can tell the crew at Shout!Factory are big fans of this film. Heck, even the reversible box art for this Blu-ray is a treat; you can chose from new artwork commissioned just for this Blu-ray release or flip it over to expose the original U.S. theatrical poster art. Nice. A big round of applause to everyone who put time into this release. 5 STARS
A scientist seeks revenge on a gang of thugs that caused his disfigurement.
Neeson is great in this as usual, he & McDormand have good chemistry,
Danny Elfman's score is excellent as usual and there's great make-up
effects. This Blu-ray has good picture and sound plus neat extras.
I recommend this good action/revenge flick.
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