Not just another entry translating comic books to the screen since the director, Sam Raimi, is  a fine film stylist and Darkman has his cinematic vocabulary liberally sprinkled from the earliest scenes. Liam Neeson is the scientist who becomes disfigured when hoods seek papers left at his lab by his reporter girl friend. Conveniently, Neeson's project has to do with cloning skin and features by using photographs and he uses a partially destroyed  photo of himself to provide an unscarred replacement face.  The catch is the skin only lasts a short time when exposed to light, so we get glimpses of boiling cells and melting epidermis. Of course, ,he must revenge himself on the bad guys at the same time trying to solve the technical artificial skin deficiencies.
     Probably the weakest aspect of the film is the ease with which the scientist is able to scavenge the remains of his lab after a colossal explosion and   set up his high tech lab in abandoned quarters in short order even for a comic book. Still, the Raimi style makes everything look cool and moves the plot along to a swift conclusion. Neeson is a powerful screen presence and looks great in Darkman duds. Francis McDormand seems a bit wide-eyed and weak-willed as the girl friend. She's better a a pregnant cop in Fargo, Ya. For the genre, the movie, with it's dark scenes and disfigured hero is a cut above the comic competition.

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Before Darkman.ŠUniversal

  An ana- morphic 1.85 transfer makes the most out of transfer elements. The film's grainy night scenes are handled reasonably well in the compression bay. Overall, the images are sharp enough and color is the normally lit interior scenes is fine. The bluish cast to the many scenes does not translate especially well in this DVD production. Dolby Digital  2-channel surround sound is aggressive and the major explosion packs some heavy duty punch.






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