In the distant future, a police marshal stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy, and gets no help from the populace when he later finds himself marked for murder.
In the near future, a police officer specializes in malfunctioning robots. When a robot turns out to have been programmed to kill, he begins to uncover a homicidal plot to create killer robots... and his son becomes a target.
To foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a ruthless terrorist, but the plan backfires when the same criminal impersonates the cop with the same method.
A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.
Peyton Westlake is a scientist who has discovered a way to produce synthetic skin. This could revolutionise skin grafting, except for one minor glitch; the synthetic skin degrades after 100 minutes of exposure to light. When gangsters attack Peyton, he is horrifically burnt, and assumed dead. In his quest for revenge, Peyton, aka the Darkman, is able to take on the appearance of anyone (using the synthetic skin,) but he only has 100 minutes per disguise. Written by
The editing process was extremely difficult, and the editor allegedly had a nervous breakdown and left production. The Universal executives were also rather nervous with some of the wild things in the film and insisted they be taken out. Sam Raimi confessed that studio movie-making, as opposed to independent filmmaking, didn't fulfill him in the same way. Raimi attributed Universal's marketing campaign to Darkman's success at the box-office. See more »
During the helicopter/freeway sequence, the same clown-faced ice cream truck gets blown up twice. See more »
'Cause he's an asshole! Tell him no. Tell him no, too. Him, tell "fuck you." No, I'm gonna be here a minute. Got some guy coming up who thinks he's gonna muscle me out of my property. What's it matter! Just another tough guy, that's all.
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The opening credit sequence is full of dark clouds and brief images of Darkman. The second A in the title is shaped like Darkman's silhouette. See more »
a little better in the mind thinking about it more, an above-average masked avenger saga
Sam Raimi, at a definite cross-roads in his career, takes on his first kind of 'major' project (err, bigger than the other films he made in the 80's) and by evidence here he was up to the challenge. But those who come from the Evil Dead films expecting a dark side crossed with some very sick, amazing gags and over-the-top jokes might wonder where the latter is at. It's a kind of realized vision of what was both portrayed on radio in the 40's (the Shadow, Darkman, similar as well as the side villains) as well as graphic novels of the 80's. It's violent, and in a Hollywood 'action' mode most of the time with big explosions, a fairly high body count, and suspense as a man seeks revenge when not completely whole. It also is the kind of pre-film, which may be dumb to say as 'pre' gets overused, but one can see the relation to comics like Spawn, V for Vendetta, and of course the future filmmaker of the solid Spiderman features. At times though he does really walk the line of doing something different with the revenge tale of having it over-done not work. He has the style knacked for it, but as a first time going at it here and there it does get a bit too much.
That being said, those who are coming to this film after having seen most of Raimi's other work get a convincingly B-story to go along with his wild techniques. Liam Neeson stars as a on-the-brink-of-something-big scientist who gets about as horribly close to death as possible after ruthless (rather ruthless in as much comic-book as 80's action-movie) gangsters do "a number" on him and his lab. Assumed dead, he puts his equipment back together, puts on masks of his enemies, and little by little gets back at them while trying to have a connection with his old love (Frances McDormand) connected to all of this as well. With this as the groundwork, and with the two main actors up for the roles- Neeson is very good here in a performance that's got him as tortured leading man ala 30's horror/murder mystery movie- the set pieces allow for Raimi to be creative in his own ways with the camera. I loved one scene where Neeson and McDormand are at the carnival, with the imagery hitting harsh (other freak), and then his frustration over a game. This is a scene emblematic of what Raimi is doing, and does more often than not, with his material.
Darkman is ambitious on that level of the visual, of trying to make a picture that in other hands would be very standard and possibly wretched in dramatic presentation, because it is both original and homage, typical in some ways and notable in others. These two sides may frustrate viewers; I'm inclined almost to say that this is even more 'cult' than Raimi's Evil Dead films. Moments of hilarity do come up sometimes, and it is with some relief when it does come along, though sometimes too the subtle black-comic approach doesn't hit. It's worth a watch though if you're a comic book fan or even just into thrillers that don't kid themselves too much. Up to par with the rest of the director's work? It's close enough, if not really great, but then in its sort of B-movie status, it doesn't need to be as a good time.
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