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  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 58:26)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • French: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • German: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
  Extras
  • 3 Theatrical trailer - Darkman, Darkman II - Return of Durant, Darkman III - Die Darkman Die

Darkman 2 - Return Of Durant

Polygram/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 89 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Oh dear. Where do I begin. I saw the original Darkman during it's theatrical release and quite enjoyed it. Sure it wasn't anything special, but as comic book films go, it was a nice effort: decent story, believeable tranformation of wussy scientist into unstoppable crime fighter, and a villain you can love to hate.

Then there's the sequels (direct to video in Australia, I believe). Until now I'd never seen either of Darkman 2 or 3, having been too disappointed that Liam Neeson hadn't returned to reprise the title role to make the effort. But when Steve offered them up for review... well how can DVDNet's resident bad-movie reviewer turn down an opportunity like that?

So, what was my reaction after seeing Darkman 2 for the first time? Well, I can honestly understand why Liam Neeson turned the role down. See the film yourself, and I think you'll agree with me.

To summarise the story (it doesn't deserve the name "plot") the villain from the original film, crimelord Robert G Durant, somehow survived the helicopter crash he was thought to have perished in and recovers from a coma to find his empire in ruins. To reclaim his stranglehold on crime he enlists the help of a mad scientist who was responsible for designing energy weapons.

To complete his sceheme though, Durant needs a place to manufacture these weapons, and this is where he crosses paths with his nemesis. The place Durant chooses for his new operation is an old electricity plant being used by another scientist, working on - you guessed it - an artificial skin formula.

Naturally, our good friend Payton Westlake has heard of this brilliant young man and wants to compare notes, and when the inevitable happens and the good doctor dies, who better than to take out vengeance than Darkman? Especially when that vengeance is to be meted out upon the back-from-the-dead Durant. What follows contains the expected two copies of one person routine that comes with movies containing mask making.

You can guess the ending.

  Video
Contract

For such a bad film, this has a surprisingly nice picture. As you can probably guess, a good deal of the film happens at night, and in dark areas, so there is a lot of black. My first thoughts were "it's too dark" as the first few scenes in the dark obscure a lot of detail. I think this was mostly intentional, as later scenes have higher detail in the foreground, mostly due to less darkness on the actors. There was no noticeable artifacting or glitches with the source material - this is a very clean transfer. The layer change was placed nicely into a cut in the film, and doesn't interrupt the flow.

  Audio
Contract

Ok, it may be a low budget film, but it was originally recorded and presented in Dolby Surround, so why couldn't it be released that way on DVD? There are definitely a few effects shots that would've benefited.

What we do get though, is a nice clean Dolby Stereo track, available in fivel languages, as the disc is coded for Region 2 and 4 use. Dialogue is clear, and synchs well with the video, and the overall sound level is mixed so you won't need to reach for the remote when you sense an explosion coming.

  Extras
Contract

Trailers for all three Darkman films, presented in 4:3 aspect ratio.

  Overall  
Contract

Honestly, this is probably only for the die hard fans who must own everything Darkman... and for those of us proud to own movies that make others run screaming. And while the movie itself may be woeful, the actual disc presents it in all of its glory (sound aside).

For the very observant (obsessed?) watch for Renee O'Connor, better known as Gabrielle from Xena - Warrior Princess, in a major role as sister to our dear departed scientist, and not-quite love interest for Darkman.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=344
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