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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround EX
  Subtitles
    English, Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian
  Extras
  • Teaser trailer
  • 2 Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • 2 Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • 3 Music video
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Storyboards
  • 2 Documentaries
  • Multiple angle
  • Outtakes
  • Gag reel

Daredevil

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Minutes after watching this feature, I had the urge to pull apart every other review I’ve written, strip it for parts, patch it together and call it something new. Why shouldn’t my review reflect what the makers of Daredevil have apparently done with this movie?

"Let’s bring on the pain! Let’s bring on the noise!"

12 year old Matt Murdoch has bully troubles. His washed up ex-boxer dad thinks he’s a-scrappin’ and tells him to hit the books instead. Then later, Matt sees his dad hassling some dude and runs off, straight into a face full of toxic waste which will permanently blind him. They decide to get their acts together and Jack ‘The Devil’ Murdoch starts boxing again. Matt discovers his other senses are now super-acute and he can ‘see’ sound (among other startling abilities). When Dad refuses to throw a fight, he is gunned down and Matt swears a lifetime of revenge in finding the killer.

20 years later he’s a lawyer by day and masked vigilante by night when he meets Elektra, a mysterious chick in tight clothing. They fall in love until her father is murdered; she thinks by Daredevil. So the battle begins - lovers by day, sworn enemies by night and vice versa. The puppetmaster of all this insanity is Kingpin, who ordered Elektra’s dad killed through Bullseye, a hired assassin. Now who’s fighting who? I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.

It’s a rather messy story and one which may have people in the know ‘who’s who-ing’ in the cameo department. With original comic book artists and writers turning up everywhere, scenes lifted directly from the comic books and myriad ‘homages’ to movies and animation, Daredevil is a film that packs a lot of punch. Sadly, it’s a blind man’s punch aimed in no particular direction and the film flounders under the weight of tributes, back patting and shonky script work.

I recognised multiple ‘inspirations’ that have left fingerprints on this film which even a modest filmgoer should pick up on. The Matrix, Spawn, The Crow, Fight Club, Ninja Scroll and even Spider-Man all found a fan in writer/director Mark Steven Johnson and as his first major work, I should think that’s a dangerous game for him to be playing. With a poorly designed sequence of events leading Matt Murdoch to becoming the Daredevil and a script that’s half over before you realise it’s begun, Daredevil is a film that starts off heading somewhere and ends up face down in a back alley. Colin Farrell’s performance as the Irish bad guy Bullseye is scary, but not in the way he intended it. He seems to Riverdance through most of his fight scenes and his lines mostly blow, but some do suck.

  Video
Contract

Well, the picture makes the film look good at least. A 2.35:1 ratio and 16:9 enhancement give us plenty to look at, when we’re not looking at the DVD case seeing how long this thing runs. So much of this film relies on computer animation that they seem to have farmed it out all over Los Angeles to anyone who said, “I could do that.” The animation bites; majorly, and the crystal clear vision lets us see this impeccably. I’m always of the mind that if you have a film so mired in reality (Daredevil bleeds, he takes painkillers, he lives as a blind man in a sighted world… his girlfriend is supermodel hot and an assassin…) the characters, who are human, can only do what humans can do. They can’t leap four metre walls and they can’t jump off 15th floor roofs and survive. Also, you can’t be hauled off a bar floor by way of a ceiling fan to sit atop it watching the action below through the spinning blades. I tried that once, it doesn’t work and it really hurts.

The majority of this film happens in the dark, it must. I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on sometimes. I’m watching a movie about a blind man, it isn’t the other way around, people. At least the blacks are black and all the shadows look right. Flesh tones are okay as well, but Affleck’s dyed hair came and went in shades of red. I didn’t even realise his hair was red until the audio commentary told me. Otherwise it's a perfect transfer. Clean, sharp and well defined. No artefacts and no noise, no shudders, no nuthin’. As I said, it looks great. Mostly.

  Audio
Contract

Beautiful sound, magnificent audio quality and exceptional editing. The soundscapes composed for Daredevil’s ‘Shadow World’ are quite extraordinary and well made. When sound and vision must interact so closely, no detail should be overlooked and this is the case here. Nice animation (for the most part) in the Shadow World and the effects created for the scenes have an indiscernible union with the sound. Very sweet stuff.

Multiple choice audio is always great and we have here the choices of DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1. What else could you want? There is one downside to such a great audio set up, and that’s the sad music in the soundtrack. Strictly M.O.R. radio rock blasts out at us at every given opportunity. Of course, if you like bands like Fuel, The Calling and Evanescence you’ll find yerself in heaven.

When it comes to dialogue, there are some clanger lines that come through just perfectly, along with the rest of the voices. A lot of lines are, again, lifted straight from the comic, but some are the writer/director’s own. At times you can almost see Joe Pantoliano’s despair at having already signed his contract and seeing no way out but through. Oh well. He killed Tank and Dozer.

  Extras
Contract

This gets long, so bear with me. It’s a two-disc set, but there’s a bit of lamer stuff. Firstly, there are the viewing modes. There’s the Enhanced Viewing Mode which is interesting for info about the billions of digital effects used in the film. It gets a little slow relinking to the movie sometimes, but is worth the look if your into that sort of thing. There’s a Text Commentary and an Audio Commentary with director Johnson and producer Gary Foster, but in essence they are both the same thing. Run them together if you like, it’ll save time. A very nice touch is the English for the Visually Impaired Language Option. This makes for interesting ‘watching’. I’ve never seen this before and the voice guy manages to read the credits and describe the action without confusing anything, impressing me plenty. Lastly for Disc One, the Animated Menus might try your patience a little and the sub menu pages are all ‘artistically grainy’ or something. It’s a bit disappointing with shades of Spider-Man’s menus as well.

Disc Two has Beyond Hell’s Kitchen: Making Daredevil which runs for an hour and is a good documentary about the making of the film, although it leans toward being too self-serving. (I’m also happy to report I found my first unassisted Easter Egg on this bit. Yay for me!) Next, Jennifer Garner’s Screen Test which is the usual filler, as are the very short Multi-Angle Dailies. There’s a two and a half minute Featured Villain: Kingpin bit, which is an interview with Michael Clarke Duncan in essence and of mild interest, particularly in learning this massive dude had to stack on weight for his role!

A 25 minute HBO First Look Special hosted by Jennifer Garner is another worthy watch, though it gets a little repetitive with edited pieces from other extras. An awesome Day with Tom Sullivan runs for a little less than a full day at eight and a half minutes, but features the blind adviser for the film in a regular day of activities. Three Theatrical Trailers yeah yeah, Three Music Videos and a comprehensive Still Gallery with hundreds of concept art images round out the FILM half of Disc Two.

The COMIC half is more like a quarter, but has the most incredible hour of artwork and interviews with original creators and artists. This includes the hard to pin down Frank Miller, who speaks for 20 mesmerising minutes about how he changed Daredevil into the hardass people know him as today. Great stuff and my highlight of the extras. As well as that, there’s a small composite piece of comic and movie called the Shadow World Tour, which is nothing you haven’t seen by this point in the disc. Finally rounding out proceedings are Modelling Sheets, which don’t look like professional ones at all, but rather just character bios with some rather shonky comic images.

In total it’s a massive collection of odds and ends that contributes toward the value of the set and is sure to contain something for everyone.

  Overall  
Contract

Daredevil has long been a comic I’ve followed, if not purchased, and so my thoughts are mixed as to the finished product on film. There’s no doubt this movie will have its fans and I wouldn’t rule out a sequel, but as a whole it seems a little strained and tacked together. This is pretty much admitted to by the director and producer, who sell themselves down the river a little in their commentary. In terms of a complete package, the extras give a lot and there is much to be learned about filmmaking in general, both good and bad (it sometimes plays as a ‘what not to do’ when it comes to watching the film). Naturally this is a companion piece to DVDs like Spider-Man and X-Men but will no doubt be looked upon as their poorer cousin.


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      And I quote...
    "Sadly, it’s a blind man’s punch aimed in no particular direction."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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