I watched Darkman a bit when I was younger. I think it was one of those movies that was just kind of on in the 90s. There’s always a set of movies that are always on rotation on TV, or at least that’s how it was back then. Each channel that played movies usually had a set of movies that they played during the day to fill time. I’m pretty sure I saw this on the USA Network alongside Child’s Play 2 & 3. I’m pretty sure this was my first Sam Raimi movie, because I wouldn’t discover Evil Dead for quite some time. I’ve only seen the first one a handful of times, but I was lucky enough to find a triple pack of the Darkman series on DVD for fairly cheap recently. It was written by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Chuck Pfarrer, Daniel Goldin, and Joshua Goldin.
The plot centers around a scientist named Peyton Westlake, who is trying to develop a synthetic skin for burn victims. His girlfriend is an attorney named Julie Hasting that inadvertently funs afoul of Robert G. Durant, crime boss extraordinaire. Durant and his crew attack Westlake and his assistant in their lab. Westlake is badly scarred and his assistant, Yakitito, is killed. Westlake survives the explosion of his lab and uses his research to take down both Durant and his crew while uncovering a conspiracy behind the attack that left him scarred.
The cast feels pretty random, especially 30 years later which hurts me to say. It starts Liam Neeson as Westlake, Frances McDormand as Julie, Larry Drake as Durant, and Colin Friels as as Louis Strack Jr. When is first saw Darkman I was really surprised to see him as a villain. I grew up watching him on L.A. Law. Liam Neeson was someone I didn’t recognize, mostly because when I first saw Darkman the only movie I had seen him in was Rob Roy. Which looking back I saw far too young because I didn’t know what happened in it for the most part, but it had swords so I watched it. There are so many different cameos hidden throughout that you could make a game of finding who was hidden somewhere.
The costume design, especially for Darkman himself, is great. He has such a distinct look that really stands out. The effects in Darkman stand up pretty well. The practical effects look really good, even on a larger screen and better resolution than what was available in a home then. The masks that were made of the cast look really good. The CG looks okay and don’t look too bad for when it was made.
The stunts in this are pretty crazy. A lot of the stuff that you see people do look like they were nerve-wracking to setup and even more so to do them. They were knocked out the park because they look crazy.
If you want a wholly original superhero movie that wasn’t based on a comic book you’ll want to check this out. If you want a kind of Jekyll and Hyde movie I’d say check out Darkman. Its available on both free and paid versions of Peacock or you can watch it through your preferred digital storefront.