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Liam Neeson as the man with no skin

Watched Darkman. Scientist tries to create artificial skin, but it can last only one hundred minutes in daylight before it melts. He’s then blown up because of mobster activity (in the first of several possibly unintentionally hilarious moments – you could add the Goofy scream and you’d hardly tell it was a dramatic moment!) and becomes super strong, unable to feel pain and slightly crazy after his hospitalisation. Quite miffed by the mobsters that wrecked his lab, burned him alive and killed his Asian lab assistant (who I mention because he has the cutest cowlick ever), he uses his synthetic skin technology to impersonate the mobsters and wreck their organisation from the inside.

Being a Sam Raimi movie, it’s got a beautifully pulp look to the whole thing; it’s moody, it’s dark, and it’s really, really cartoonish when it wants to be. Darkman himself… he’s not exactly a superhero, given the fact he’s just a dude with a messed-up face and no sense of touch, but his gimmick of disguising himself as people is a really interesting one. It’s not something he can just parade around with infinitely, the whole time limit aspect adds a great sense of urgency to his crazy schemes, so he needs to make the best use of his time. But it’s one thing to be prompt – it’s another to accurately imitate who he’s masquerading as, and when spoofing a scary mofo who cuts off people’s fingers for a living, he needs to watch footage of the guy many, many times to nail his mannerisms correctly. It shows the kind of accuracy he’s going for to make his schemes work, but it also shows just how crazy he is.

Let’s face it, the guy had it pretty decent in life before he was thrown in a vat 06of unidentified bubbling liquid and then blown sky-high like Wile E. Coyote – he had a loving girlfriend, a great scientific career, and he’s portrayed by Leslie freakin’ Nielsen. It could be considered heroic to take down the mobsters that ruined his life, but the way he goes about it, especially in his emotionally unstable state, it just seemed like he was digging himself in a hole he’d be unlikely to get out of. I was almost surprised he didn’t end up crazy (well, crazier) by the end of the movie, but given the fact there’s two sequels, I guess they had to avoid a downer ending. Very unlike Raimi, though!

The whole movie is kinda dark and gritty but with a mildly ridiculous vibe about it, and then it drops all pretension of realism during the climatic chase scene where Darkman is dangling on a helicopter’s tow hook while the villain shoots grenades at him, slings him inside an office building (“Excuse me!”) and hauls him over a highway, resulting in him working his legs cartoonishly fast over the roof of a trailer. It’s like watching Tim Burton’s Batman and then ten minutes of Tom & Jerry are suddenly spliced in to serve as the climax – and it somehow works. Remove Sam Raimi’s name from the movie and that’d be the only thing that’d get me asking questions.

I can’t imagine the sequels will be much good (though they’re bound to be better than Elektra, honest to god), but I’d definitely be interested in watching them just to see where they run with the concept.

Today’s doodle is something I’m pretty sure I already drew like a year ago.

One Comment

  1. MightyKombat wrote:

    I like cowlicks, they look cute.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink