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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 63:17)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Polish: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    English, French, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Production notes

Darkman

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 91 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Cut off your hand, stick on a chainsaw, kill some demons. It's creativity like this that earned director Sam Raimi cult status with his Evil Dead trilogy. Along with his disturbed story telling comes a talented director with a style all of his own as can be seen in the afformentioned trilogy aswell as the likes of the Quick and the Dead and a Simple Plan. Almost a decade ago, he penned the script to another dark movie, funnily enough called Darkman.

Darkman - what Batman would have been if he suffered the fate of the joker himself. Payton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is on the verge of creating a fully synthetic skin replacement to help reshape the deformed skin of burn victims but the formula seems to deteriorate after 99 minutes. Finally, a balance is found when a power outage allows the skin to remain stable for an indefinite period of time, in the dark.

His girlfriend Julie Hastings (Frances McDormand) holds the key to Peytons doom. She has some documentation that the Henchman, led by Robert G. Durant (Larry Drake), of building developer Louis Strack Jr (Colin Friels) need to retrieve to keep their secrets surrounding their development away from inquiring minds. This retrieval culminates in Peyton been severely burned and blown up in the process.

Sound ordinary? Well, knowing Raimi, he puts a little twist in. Peyton survives (whilst the rest think he's dead), gets back to his lab, retries to create the formula so that he can rebuild his face and see his girlfriend again and take vengance on those who tried to kill him. His burns however have destroyed his nervous system so in effect he cannot feel anything which gives him superhuman strength as there is no pain barrier.

He ventures out into the world as Darkman and has 99 minute spells to do his vengeful work or see his girlfriend again. Things cannot go on like this and he is forever doomed to be the unfaced man of the dark. Oooooooohhhhh.

  Video
Contract

Given the age of the film I was both pleasantly surprised and a little disappointed at the same time. It's only 10 years old and I've seen other transfers look miles better but then I've seen younger films look much worse. It has clearly been taken from a very good positive print so that may explain the average quality.

The main gripe here is that Black levels aren't that great and shadow detail becomes a brownish dirty patch if anything. Given the dark nature of the film, it would have benefitted from a properly looked after transfer rather than what appears to look like a set and forget effort.

Colors ranging from bright orange explosions to lowly saturated carnivals give the print an uneven presentation. At times, detail suffers from the lack of depth in the contrast ratio and sharpness seems to be a little artifical at times lending to some moments of edge enhancement.

On a small screen the transfer would look fine but I'm guessing that anything bigger than 68cm and you'll notice defects alot more. Still, a decent effort given the material used.

  Audio
Contract

Presented with 7 language options of which I listened to the Polish mono soundtrack. After about 3 minutes I didn't find it interesting at all so I went back and listened to the English soundtrack. Ahh, that's a little better. :)

As an overall, the soundtrack provides some entertaining sequences of audio for a pro-logic track with surround activity giving the sense of a 5.1 soundtrack. Maybe it was the THX processing on my amp providing decorelation in the rear channels that caused this, but it still sounded good.

Dialogue was always clear and level matched with the rest of the audio yet there was some harshness from the front soundstage during any hight vocal activity such as Liam Neeson screaming. Nothing to write home about.

  Extras
Contract

This is your basic collection of extras featuring cast and crew biographies, production notes and a theatrical trailer. I won't go into detail as it's pretty basic stuff that we come to expect.

Maybe add in some trailers of other Raimi flicks next time and they'd be worth mentioning in detail.

  Overall  
Contract

I found the movie a little ordinary at times as Raimi tried to capture the feel of his previous comedic/horror turn outs. I think its the actors he used that just didn't carry what he was trying to do, even though they are great actors in their own right.

As far as the concept goes, it was moderately original and would have helped with a little more fleshing out. As a dvd, it's a fairly good transfer for a decade old movie.


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      And I quote...
    ""
    - Steve Koukoulas
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-505 Gold
    • TV:
          Hitachi CMT2979 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS777 THX Select
    • Speakers:
          Peterson Labs 100Watts
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sherwood SC-60E
    • Surrounds:
          Sherwood LS-502
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
      Recent Reviews:
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