Darkman (1990)

REVIEWS - Movie Reviews


I was a little late getting over to see "Darkman," the ultimate movie about botched plastic surgery, because last week, right in the middle of a barbecue chicken dinner, Wanda Bodine bashed Cherry Dilday's face in. She hit her right square on the bridge of the nose with a beaded purse in the shape of a kitty-cat, and Cherry spouted blood all over my TV dinner tray.

We'd seen this coming for about a week, ever since me and Wanda Bodine were watching the Home Shopping Channel one night, hoping the offer for 32 John Wayne videos for $14.95 would come on. Wanda claims they were selling em one night, but we watched for four hours and all they had were eight cartoons for $19.75. I bought all of em. I thought it was a ripoff when they were charging $19.75 just for "Superman," specially since those "Superman" cartoons from the forties stink, but when they offered "Popeye" and "Daffy Duck" and "Bugs Bunny," I went for it. Then, after I called in, they kept throwing new ones up there, so I'll also get "Foghorn Leghorn," "Porky Pig," "Casper the Ghost" and "Woody Woodpecker." I'll have to smash the last two into smithereens when they come in the mail, cause there are some things too disgusting to have in the house.

How'd I get off on that?

Oh yeah--we were watching Home Shopping Channel for four hours, and we'd already bought the following items:

* A handcrafted quilt that normally sells for $967, but we got it for $43.

* A "color computer," with software, "Nintendo-ready," that would normally cost $2500. Our price: $125.

* A Regency Classic Family Bible with "leather-look hard cover with gilt edges" and a picture of Jesus on the front looking up at God, with light shining through his hair. It normally costs eighty bucks, but we got one for $9.75. The announcer said "I almost feel sacrilegious selling it at such a low price."

* A one-of-a-kind Potpourri Steamer, "votive candle included," "beautiful blue color," a $37 value for only three bucks.

And all this time we were watching, they kept showing this seven-inch raised-link Marquis tennis bracelet made out of Beverly Hills Gold. And every time they would show it, Wanda would say, "What's Beverly Hills Gold?"

And finally I said, "I guess it's gold that's from Beverly Hills."

And she said, "I never thought of where gold came from."

And I said, "They don't dig it up in Beverly Hills. They dig it up in some place like Mexico, and they truck it to Beverly Hills."

And so, every time they came on to lower the price--they started up around $900 and came down to $113.50--Wanda would say something like "I don't even KNOW anybody who has any Beverly Hills Gold."

And so finally she bought the goldurn thing. I saw it coming. I knew there wasn't anything I could do to head it off. And so she called em up, gave out her Mastercard number. Done deal.

The next day at work, Wanda was talking about her new Beverly Hills Gold bracelet when Cherry Dilday walked in. It so happens that, about a week before, Cherry had bought her own solid simulated gold tennis bracelet, but hers was made out of "Black Hills Gold."

"What's Black Hills Gold?" Wanda asked her.

"It's gold that comes up out of the Black Hills," Cherry said.

"I've never heard of it. It can't be that good."

And this made Cherry a little hot, so she said, "So where's gold SUPPOSED to come from?"

And Wanda said, "I just ordered some BEVERLY HILLS gold."

And Cherry snickered. It wasn't a loud snicker. Just a little grunt really.

And Wanda said, "What do you mean by that?"

And Cherry said, "You don't dig up gold out in Beverly Hills."

"I know that! You dig it up in Louisiana! Or Mexico! I can't remember."

"Then why do they call it Beverly Hills Gold?"

"Because it's brought to Beverly Hills from Mexico."

"There ain't any such thing as Beverly Hills Gold. Gold is made in the Black Hills."

"Well, I've never even HEARD of the Black Hills."

"That's because they're in Canada. Or Montana. Someplace with a lot of forest rangers."

Neither one of em ever simmered down after that, and about a week later Wanda Bodine's Beverly Hills Gold tennis bracelet came in the mail, and I have to say, it looked a lot BIGGER on TV. They must have had a midget wearing it or something. We had to open up the box and add all the extra links to get it on Wanda's arm, and then it still kinda hung catty-wampus across her wrist and made a red mark on it. That would have been okay, except an hour or two later, while we were eating dinner, Cherry Dilday showed up at the door and said, "The mailman told me you got that fake bracelet in the mail today."

Wanda Bodine was so mad she just glared at her.

Cherry looked at her arm. "I guess it's the one that's covering up that big red WELT on your wrist," she said.

"Do you want anything?" Wanda asked her.

"I just wanted to show you my Black Hills Gold certificate of authenticity, signed by the governor of North Dakota. Maybe you can show me your certificate from the mayor of Beverly Hills."

There was another slight snicker at this point.

What can I say? I should have seen the kitty-cat purse by the sofa. Wanda cracked Cherry's face open quicker than Chuck Norris can kung-fu a Filipino extra.

It's not that bad, I don't think. They say Cherry will be out of the hospital sometime next week.

Wanda's wrist is starting to heal, too.

I keep trying to look this up in my Regency Classic Family Bible "subject concordance," but they don't have a listing under "Bimbo."

And speaking of missing grey matter, "Darkman" is now, officially, number one on the 1990 Drive-In Hit List. The director, Sam Raimi, has made three movies, and all three have gone straight to number one. First "The Evil Dead," the zombie classic still banned in several countries. Next "The Evil Dead II," in which the zombies become even MORE vicious. And now, the story of a scientist who's working on the ultimate plastic surgery discovery--making skin in a test tube--but gets half his face blown off by some gangsters led by Benny the reetard from "L.A. Law." The actor's real name is Larry Drake, and he likes to collect human fingers in a box.

Unfortunately for Benny . . . er . . . Larry, though, the scientist wakes up with so many burns on his body that the doctors are forced to cut off all his nerves, so he can't feel diddly squat. This means that he has superhuman strength and that you shouldn't tick him off, because he can't control his emotions. But what he can do is make all the synthetic-skin faces you can handle. They're better than the ones on "Mission: Impossible," but they work the same way. Just like Martin Landau, he can become anybody he wants to become--for 99 minutes, which is when the fake face starts turning into bubbling gooey pus and dripping on the pavement. That means everybody can see his real face, which looks like somebody fried some hash browns on it. Should he tell his girlfriend what happened? Should he blow Benny the reetard's head off? Or should he just have dates with his girlfriend that last exactly 99 minutes? Approximately one thousand stunts, special effects, car chases, and helicopter sequences later, we find out the answer--and, in the meantime, Darkman becomes a more likable guy, in my opinion, than Charles Laughton in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." You laugh? You scoff? The man is ugly, the man is evil, and the man is in love. This is gonna be an American classic.

No breasts. Forty dead bodies. Three motor vehicle chases. The best helicopter stunt sequence ever filmed. Hand on fire. Fake-nose making. Finger-chopping. Carny-bashing. Fingers roll. Ear rolls. Head splatters. Multiple explosions. Gratuitous waltzing. Kung Fu. Rivet-gun Fu. Manhole-cover Fu. Saran-wrap Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Frances McDormand, as Darkman's girlfriend, for saying "If you're not going to kill me, I have things to do"; Liam Neeson, as Darkman, for saying "What is it about the dark? What secret does it hold?" and for getting mad at his cat all the time; Larry Drake, as the bad guy, for saying "Bring the Asian's fingers"; and, of course, Sam Raimi, the Michigan State Whiz Kid grown up into the big time, for making the ultimate homeless movie.   

Four Stars

Joe Bob says check it out.