I’ve been enjoying some HD rewatches of movies I’d previously seen many years ago on crappy video – classics like Close-up, Koyaanisqatsi, Paths of Glory… and Darkman. This is the perfect connection between his Evil Dead trilogy and his Spider-Man trilogy, and was probably an answer to Tim Burton’s Batman. It proved Raimi could maintain the tone of his filmmaking, shooting a fundamentally ridiculous story, filling in details both comic and horrific, without (arguably!) toppling into camp.
Really good ratty bandages and scar tissue in this movie:
It’s eerily like a Taken movie when you watch it now: Liam Neeson’s life gets wrecked and he swears revenge using (in this case literally) superhuman fighting skills. It also includes the phrases “The Rangeveritz Technique” and “The Bellasarious Memorandum.”
Liam Neeson is perfecting his formula for liquid skin, about to propose to Frances McDormand, when bad guys melt his face and hands and blow up his lab, so he seeks revenge while wearing a series of limited-time false faces. Hallmarks of 1990 include the evil property developer plot (still being used in 2016, actually), the bad hair and bad cars, and one guy in every gang having to wield nunchucks. I’d forgotten the part where Neeson is rescued post-explosion and doctors fix up his nerves so he feels no pain and incidentally has superhuman strength and rage issues.
You can tell he’s evil from the lighting:
Ted Raimi plays one of the baddest bad guys, shooting Neeson’s lab assistant to death. The evil property developer, also McDormand’s boss, is Colin Friels, also in Dark City, which I bought at the same time as this movie. Great Bruce Campbell cameo as Neeson’s getaway disguise face at the end. Dialogue is kinda clunky, but what do you want from a movie called Darkman.
For some reason she’s more freaked out by the lookalike than the dead man:
In the commentary, cinematographer Bill Pope says Sam and the Coens might still be doing secret revisions of each other’s scripts. Darkman Legacy: the late Larry Drake was always happy to return as Durant, including in the TV series pilot (with UK TV’s Christopher Bowen as Darkman) and two straight to video sequels The Return of Durant and Die Darkman Die (with Mummy Returns star Arnold Vosloo as Darkman, and a hilarious scene with a rocket launcher in a tunnel).