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
Some of Darkman's elements were inspired by Batman. The Batman series contains the character Harvey Dent, who also starts out as a protagonist, but after being horribly disfigured by burns, his character becomes a villain. Sam Raimi is a fan of the Batman character, and was among those passed over to direct Batman (1989). Larry Drake and Liam Neeson would later work on Batman Beyond: The Winning Edge (1999) and Batman Begins (2005) respectively. See more »
The spinothalamic tract is stated to transmit pain and vibration. It actually transmits pain and temperature. 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 »
German VHS versions were cut by a few seconds to secure a "Not under 18" rating. See more »
"Darkman" marks Sam Raimi's debut for a major film studio with a reasonably high budget, after a handful of cheap but nevertheless legendary independent movies. Analysing his career as a whole, "Darkman" actually was a logical choice for Raimi to direct! It's an extremely violent comic-book styled superhero movie and hence the ideal transition from "The Evil Dead" onto the "Spiderman" cycle. It's like Raimi used his already gained experience and knowledge of horror movies and practiced to realize his ultimate dream projects. Of course, we avid horror fanatics will always prefer Raimi's earliest horror projects over his later big-budgeted and crowd-pleasing movies, and from that viewpoint "Darkman" is on of his last truly great movie with an immense cult-value (along with "Army of Darkness" in 1992).
"Darkman" is a strange type of superhero movie. It has all the characteristics of being adapted from an existing comic book, but it's not and actually has a screenplay that is written directly for the screen. You could compare it to "The Punisher" or "The Shadow", but instead Raimi's intention clearly was to bring homage to the oldest and most classical horror movies, namely the Universal landmarks revolving on misunderstood monsters (like "Phantom of the Opera") and brilliant scientists slowly going mad (like "The Invisible Man"). Liam Neeson is terrific as Peyton Westlake, a brilliant scientist with a stable relationship and a promising career since he's on the verge of breakthrough in his research to create a lasting synthetic skin to cover up disfigurements. Following his girlfriend Julie's involvement in a bribery scheme, the malicious gangster Robert Durant blows up his laboratory and leaves Peyton for dead. He survives, mutilated beyond recognition and mentally messed up, and promptly begins to exterminate his killers by using his own techniques of temporary impersonations. Meanwhile, Peyton also re-creates his own face in order to win back Julie without having to tell her about his dark secrets.
The combination of horror, dramatic story lines and blackly comical situations isn't always equally successful, but Sam Raimi turns all separate elements into one fast-paced, highly exciting and ingenious wholesome with great performances overall, awesome make-up effects and several impressively staged action sequences. The helicopter chase near the end, for instance, is excellent proof of Raimi's talented vision regarding spectacle and breath-taking suspense. Other very memorable moments in the films include a masterful scene at a carnival, the introduction with Durant and his gang at the very beginning and the climax taking place on a construction site high above the city at night. Neeson and Frances McDormand (Mrs. Joel Coen) provide some genuine on screen chemistry, but the villainous characters truly steal the show. Particularly Larry Drake ("Dr. Giggles") is genius as the arrogant, cigar-smoking and finger-collecting gangster. His crew features some familiar faces like Nicolas Worth ("Don't Answer the Phone") and the director's brother Ted Raimi. "The Evil Dead" star and professional cool dude Bruce Campbell makes a brief but essential cameo appearance near the end. Highly recommended.
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