Bullet Points: Darkman II: The Return of Durant
You can’t go wrong with bringing back what was arguably the best thing about the first Darkman; the late, great Larry Drake. For those of you wondering who Drake was, just try to remember back to how amazingly evil the villain Durant was and you’ll have your answer. He cut dudes fingers off with a cigar chopper thingy, had awesome one-liners, and totally got blown up in a helicopter explosion. Or so we all thought…
Synopsis: Darkman (Arnold Vosloo) and Durant (Larry Drake) return and they hate each other as much as ever. This time, Durant has plans to take over the city’s drug trade using high-tech weaponry. Darkman must step in and try to stop Durant once and for all.
- Opening Craziness: The movie opens some time after the events of the first one. I can’t say how long except that the gangsters keep telling Durant that he’s “been gone a long time”. We see that the streets are kind of a mess. There is a wild car chase with some explosions and guns blazing. A dude even throws a grenade from a moving vehicle! In the end, a bad guy with some drugs and money gets away long enough for Darkman to take him down and steal his money. What a heroic gesture!
- Blankman Lair: Liam Neeson was off making Rob Roy, which I just picked up at Big Lots for $4 (Hell Yeah!), so Arnold Vosloo took up the roll of Peyton Westlake/Darkman. I have a hard time seeing Vosloo as anything other than a bad guy but he spends half the movie wrapped up like a mummy (word) so it isn’t hard for him to fill in for the missing Neeson. One thing that was new to the movie was Darkman’s new subway lair that totally looked like Damon Wayan’s Blankman hideout. They even had a similar vehicle that traveled on the track tracks. I want one.
- Anger Management: One of the things that I missed most from the first Darkman to the second was the pure rage that came from the main character. I seem to remember some very Sam Raimi-styled scenes of Liam Neeson getting pissed and flipping out before killing some fools in the first one. This sequel doesn’t even sniff that kind of awesomeness.
- Eat your heart out NRA: Durant was blown up in a fiery helicopter explosion and now he has headaches. I want his doctor. He’s decided to take over the gun game on the streets and creates this plan to develop a new gun that is pure insanity. They bust an inventor out of the clink and he shows them his new weapon called “The Vigilante”. It’s perfectly ridiculous for this type of movie and one that will likely never get taken by Remington.
- The bad guy crew: Once Darkman finally gets annoyed enough to take down Durant and his crew, he starts making his little faces so he can pretend to be them. We saw him do it in the original so I’m a little surprised that Durant is fooled by it but it doesn’t get over as well as it did in the first one either. Darkman doesn’t really cause any of his victims to be killed by his own people or really even fool them but it does seem hilarious that this dude gets so mad but instead of just killing them, he dresses like them and almost tries to prank them.
- Not dark enough: While Darkman does finally get his revenge for his buddy dying, the quality of our Darkman is a bit off. He doesn’t get his sweet rage outs or appear to feel any physical pain. Maybe Arnold Vosloo is just so badass that he didn’t need to have super rage no-pain powers. The kills aren’t anywhere near as brutal as the ones in the first one and the movie lacks the same bit of comedy that Sam Raimi brought.
Sequels need Bonus Bullet Points too:
- Sam Raimi had stated that Durant would return for the third film in the series but never did.
- The lady reporter was cute but didn’t do shit in the entire movie. They could have cut her character and spent more money on killing off some of these bad guys.
- Filmed simultaneously with Darkman III.
- Is Darkman really just Zartan from G.I. Joe?
The Verdict: The return of Durant is the biggest reason to watch Darkman II. Larry Drake is still really fun as Robert G. Durant but the rest of the film is lacking. The kills needed work. Darkman tried the same shtick as the in the first one but with less success. Vosloo does an okay job but without the attachments that he had in the first one to his lady friend or his cool powers and excellent kills, the movie was destined to be more “Meh” than “Yeah!” Watch it for Larry Drake. The rest is just there.