Movies, Reviews Darkman III: Die, Darkman, Die (1996) October 7, 2011 David DeMoss 7 Comments The final part of Darkman Trilogy retrospective. If you’re joining us on the tail-end, Part One and Part Two are available on the other side of those links your eyes just scooted across.
7 thoughts on “Darkman III: Die, Darkman, Die (1996)”
A gummer is an old person with no teeth? so where’s my pizza roll? And remember all the sparks in highlander? Too bad but Liam Niesen was a better Darkman. thanks for the entertaining review altho I’ll probably not see this one until drive-ins come back.
I can’t believe Robert Davi wasn’t available for Darkman 2 or 3.
I know, right? Darkman vs. Franz Sanchez! I’d watch the everloving hell out of that shit.
Actually they made a completely unrelated Darkman pilot prior to these movies, which was largely just a streamlined remake of the original. I’ve never been able to find any concrete info that these were meant as pilot movies, though.
I’ve even got that pilot hanging around here somewhere, gods help me. You can tell a story’s failing when the tellers keep retreading origin territory to no good purpose. See also: Spawn…or don’t….No, don’t.
The Darkman “Franchise” has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, but I think it’s ridiculous that yeah, they pretty much keep treading what is essentially the same story over and over with minor changes… I think there’s a lot more you can do with the concept of Darkman that nobody ever bothered to look into. No, let’s keep it limited to Darkman fighting gangsters and shady businessmen over and over, and have him get this close to having perfected his liquid skin before that’s ripped away again…
Probably should have only been one, but I could have seen a much better-done version of these movies being done in the hands of someone who actually cared.
I think it’s a question of scope. Gangsters and the shady businessmen who bankroll them were already the urban vigilante’s bread-n-butter by the time Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were trying to sell their Superman to someone. But within ten years of the pulp hero’s metamorphosis into the superhero, those standard villains gave way to supervillains, something Darkman’s moving-picture incarnations all lack.
You probably already know this, but once more, for the curious gallery mice – back in 1993, Marvel Comics put out a five-issue Darkman series by future Superman/Astro City writer Kurt Busiek. It’s a better Darkman II than Darkman II by several orders of magnitude, expanding on that first movie’s dangling threads instead of ignoring them. Busiek pulled the camera back, as it were, revealing (and reveling) in the corrupt state of…whatever city Darkman calls home. Not only do we finally meet Mr. Claude Bellasarious (he of the infamous, eponymous MacGuffin Memo), but it turns out the police commissioner is a crazy man, convinced he’s the reincarnation of a 17th century witchfinder, and that’s partially why crime runs rampant through…whatever town this is. And the Chief Surgeon turns out to be a mad scientist (“From now on, call me Dr. Frankenstein!”), who eventually puts Robert G. Durant’s head onto a robot body. It’s fuckin’ awesome.
The very next year, Pocket Books released a total of four Darkman novels by mid-list thriller writer Randal Boyll, which are even more awesome. After one Charles Dickens homage and one “Darkman infiltrates/kills criminal gang” story (with better characters – and therefore more humanity – in it than either of these movies), Boyll seemed to realize what we’re driving at here: Dr. Westlake needs a better Rogue’s Gallery.
So Book 2 opens with a crazy man (another Witchfinder – or a parallel universe counterpart of the first) visiting the psychologist’s office he’ll eventually burn to the ground, before going out into the night and doing the same to any random woman he catches…until Darkman crushes his head “like a ripe tomato.” Book 3 is about Dr. Westlake’s infiltration of a decidedly suburban cult, ruining their plans for a human sacrifice. Book 4 is mostly a battle of wits against a rogue CIA(?) agent with an eye on the synthetic skin’s many potential field applications. It ends just as Darkman’s trudging off into some central American jungle, probably to pick a fight with some Cartel…or maybe a Predator, on safari.
Then there’s Dynamite Comic’s Darkman vs. Army of Darkness, which is just plain looney, in the best possible way. Julie Hastings becomes Queen of the Deadites. I’m pretty sure Dynamite still owns Dr. Westlake’s license, but they’ve yet to do anything more with him, as of this writing. Hopefully, they’re searching for someone who actually cares.