Directed by: Sam Raimi
Cast: Liam Neeson (Peyton Westlake), Frances McDormand (Julie Hastings), Colin Friels (Louis Strack Jr)
Before tackling Spider-Man, Sam Raimi created his own superhero (though a very warped one) in the guise of Darkman. Liam Neeson plays Peyton Westlake, a scientist who has discovered a way to produce synthetic skin – problem is, it degrades after 100 minutes of exposure to light. When he’s horrifically burnt after some gangsters raid his lab, he’s out for revenge on the guys who did it – and he uses his invention to disguise himself with a variety of faces.
An unashamed, unpretentious attempt to update pulp noir with some ’90s horror, in the wrong hands Darkman could easily have been a totally forgettable – or unwatchable – experience. After all, it’s pure B-movie schlock at heart. But Raimi crafts it with the same care (if not budget) that Spielberg gave Raiders, and casting a heavyweight thesp at its heart, Neeson, gives the main character more depth than you’d expect from a film like this. It’s no classic, and it’s all a bit too one-note, but remains a lot of fun.