Tom C. (tc) from WALTHAM, MA Reviewed on 1/26/2012...
Loved seeing these groovy flix again. Keeping in mind when these were made and the budget, they all hold up really well, especially when compared to today's big on budget, short on story blockbusters.
If you are looking for fine origin story and a couple follow-up adventures, I highly recommend sitting down and watching all three back-to-back-to-back. Makes for a great way to pass a rainy day.
Too bad the series never made it to the screen.
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Heroes Don't Die: Darkman Wouldn't Anyway; He's Simply Too
LawrenceSvetlana | USA | 01/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Darkman is one of the few, truly unique characters you're ever going to find in any media, whether that be movies, books, comics, or cartoons. He's part Batman in his quest to fight crime and bring people to justice in reaction to his own victimization; part Phantom of the Opera in his rage against his disfigurement and freakishness and his deadly accurate skills in murder as well as disguise and in his ability to create and recreate his own underground world; part Hulk in his all-powerful, rage-fueled strength and part Bruce Banner in his scientific expertise; part Invisible Man in his bandaged, overcoated, hat-topped get-up and his ability to uncannily disappear; part The Question in his ability to ask the correct, very intelligent questions that lead him to see right through scams and dark plots and thereby take action to set things right. Like all these characters, he's terribly conflicted, ultimately good (at least when it truly counts in the first movie and nearly always in the second and third installments of his story), and he spends most of his time alone, outcast, and, to a great extent, within a self-imposed exile that is, in part, both shame and penance. As Sam Raimi, Darkman's creator has said, "I decided to explore a man's soul. In the beginning, a sympathetic, sincere man. In the middle, a vengeful man committing heinous acts against his enemies. And in the end, a man full of self-hatred for what he's become, who must drift off into the night, into a world apart from everyone he knows and all the things he loves." With this Franchise Collection, you get the entire three-film, movie franchise. (The only thing that hasn't been re-released is a thirty minute TV pilot.) With this, you'll see Darkman portrayed originally by Liam Neeson and then, in the last two films, by Arnold Vosloo (of Imhotep / Mummy & Mummy Returns fame). Both actors do a fine job. In the first film, simply titled Darkman, Liam Neeson perfectly portrays the wonderfully antic aspects of the character, including a truly scary but hilarious Tin-Man dance using a funnel for a hat that is a classic scene to this day. He is also much better than Vosloo at pulling off the cliche one-liners that somehow become verbally gory when he says them. Granted, Neeson had the benefit of being in a film that had a wonderfully brilliant, magician's bag full of dark-humor. I don't want to spoil the fun by giving out the details; each gag in this film is so good that you want the full effect of the surprise. Suffice it say that you've never seen a more lovable, pathos-inspiring character with such troubling behavior. And the ways in which Darkman carries out the murders of murderers redefines poetic justice. His arch-enemy, Robert G. Durant, is as dead-pan and cold-blooded as crimelord-assassins come. And Durant's goons have to be the best collections of villainous sidekicks ever created. And that's apparent in the first two minutes of this movie. The first Darkman is truly classic and is worth the price of the Franchise Collection alone. And everyone I've known who's seen the first film has felt 100% compelled to see the others. Darkman II: The Return of Durant maintains some of the oddball humor, but it is found in the character of Durant rather than Darkman. And Louis Strack, Jr., the developer who originally called in Durant to kill Dr. Westlake, takes center stage in this film. The story becomes much more serious, and Vosloo brings out the human side of Darkman / Dr. Westlake so that the humor and one-liners are gone for the most part, but a much more truly heroic character emerges. The action here is still remarkable, and you'll love the new underground world that Darkman has erected. The third film, Darkman III: Die, Darkman, Die is about how Darkman has a choice to finally become rehabilitated. The last installment of Darkman's story has seen him make significant human connections. And this film takes that even further, to the point where he truly has a chance at a relationship with a woman as well as a chance to have a daughter. In the end, he is compelled to do make a wonderfully, heroic, loving, human choice. And that's what carries this film off. The villains here are just as memorable, Raimi still has a few gags up his sleeve, but he wants you too see inside Darkman's soul in this film and truly grasp the nature of the world in which he lives. As to practicalities, this 3-film collection is well worth the price. Check different retailers. I purchased it for approx. 14 dollars at the Mart on the wal, if you know what I mean. Others sell it cheaper than I see it here, also. There are no inserts or frills or special features. Not even scene selection. But I've purchased an original copy of the dvd, and there are none there either. Not even scene selection. So, you get everything here, minus original covers. As to the R rating, it's for bad language and nothing else. And the film starts right off with the "F" word. That being said, after explaining the presence of the vile verbals, I have let my children see all of these films. Because they are simply that good. These films have truly heart-rending and heart-warming scenes, and there's no better films for explaining justice and heroism. Go get your Darkman before this thing goes out of print.
A great trilogy at a great price Universal's Darkman Trilogy
Jason Pumphrey | Falls Church, Virginia United States | 07/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay it's definatly lacking special features(It only contains trailers for the first two films Darkman and Darkman II(Disc 1,both are on the same dual layer disc,not dual sided mind you,that's a major plus,that means it has the label/artwork on one side and the program on the other!)Disc 3 on the other hand has NO features whatsoever just Darkman III,just the movie and no title screen no nothing!,but that's fine,it was the final and the weekest film in the series!!! Heck the reason I really bought this was actaully cheaper(i got mine for just $5.99 new at a retail store(wont tell the name)than the stand alone Darkman 1(the Sam Raimi directed one) movie!!! For the cut rate price might as well triple the deal for less dough,and it's housed in a nice regualar single size DVD case,so it takes minimal room on the bookshelf!!! A great deal for this great trilogy!!! Like I said before if you want a lot of extras,look elsewhere,If you want a great trilogy of films at a great price then look no further!!! Recommended!!! A+"
Not What I had Hoped for
J. White | 08/15/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I vaguely remember seeing bits and pieces of the first Darkman movie several years before I purchased the box set. The movie intrigued me. I'm usually wary of comic book or superhero-esque movies, but in retrospect it well done. I've wanted to purchase this collection for years and I was excited to finally find it and buy it.
After watching the entire trilogy I must say that I was sorely mistaken. None of the movies are particularly well done, nor are they engaging. Darkman, while as interesting as he is conflicted, comes off as a bland one trick pony. All three movies play out the same way: Darkman has an enemy, he makes disguises to elude and foil the antagonists, and then he has a showdown with the big boss of their respective movies. Darkman never fails to come off as a poor man's mix of Batman and the Shadow in any of the three movies. The first installment of the series was the best, but it doesn't make up for the other two. The acting is bland, the plot is campy, and the action leaves much to be asked for. This, sadly, is a consitent trend in all three movies.
My biggest complaint lies in the last two movies. They not only appeared to be rushed, but it seemed as though the third movie used exact scenes from the second movie during the exposition. It was a tacky and unimaginative move on director's part.
I can't recommend this movie to anyone else unless you really like the Darkman series. He may be an interesting character, but this movie did not do him justice. Also, for all those who care, there's not much in terms of special features on any of the disks. Just three sub par movies."
You get what you paid for....
G. Sferrazza | 10/20/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This 3 in 1 pack basically has the first two movies in one disk with their repective trailers and on the second disk the third film (no menu, no trailer just the film). The image on all three films has been restored. Now how good, well I don't see any tape deterioration and the sound is pretty crisp, but I do not own a widescreen TV or surround soundsystem. Now If you like Raimi his style then what Darkman offers you is that in spades, so its worth picking up in that sense...
Now the only thing I am not sure about is weather or not parts 2 and 3 have been cut somehow...
But with all that said I must add that in Raimi's absence the new director seems to copy his style rather well. And in some way I like Vooslo more than Neason as Payton Westlake not because he is more 'believable' but rather because he seems more fit for the action sequences and seems like he has a darker presence. (Oh the puns...)
As an update the image on D3 seems to be shaky in the beginning when dark man first enters the layer and gets a new mask out, the image shakes for a the few seconds the shot takes place, now weather this is just my copy or all of them is anybody's guess, but for $15 at CRTCity still a semi decent deal overall ratin for DVD 2 & 3/4 stars"
Great set for Darkman fans
Y. Nomura | 05/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What can I say? If you're a big fan of one of Sam Raimi's best which is Darkman, this is a must-buy set. Sure, the sequels were both direct to video movies (which means they were both low budget films) but with that in mind, I think they were able to pull off a rather decent continuation of the original film. But if you're looking forward to the exact same level of the original film, I recommend you avoid this set and just stick to the original one. I'm not a remake fan, but this set made me wonder how they could have done Darkman with modern technology and a better budget. But I guess Darkman was such a memorable film because it was done with low budget and old technology. Anyhow, great set for all Darkman fans!"