XenForo Template DARKMAN Studio: Universal Year: 1990 Length: 1 hr 36 mins Genre: Science Fiction/Action/Horror/Sam Raimi Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 BD Resolution: 1080p BD Video Codec: VC-1 (@ an average 25 mbps) Color/B&W: Color Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.5 mbps) Subtitles: English SDH Film Rating: R (Violence, Gore, Inappropriate Use of a Cigar Cutter) Release Date: June 15, 2010 Starring: Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels and Larry Drake Screenplay by: Chuck Pfarrer and Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi and Daniel Goldin & Joshua Goldin Directed by: Sam Raimi Film Rating: 2 ½/5 Darkman has just made its debut on Blu-ray, showing more than a little of its 20-year age in the creakiness of the whole idea. Sam Raimi’s basic comic-book concept is that of a scientist (Liam Neeson) who is horribly disfigured and medically altered, and who finds a way to exact revenge on the men who tried to kill him. If you can turn on your suspension of disbelief full blast, you may well have a fun time with this movie, in which our hero is able to rebuild his destroyed computers and laboratory in the usual abandoned factory hideout, and is able to somehow generate artificial skin in the likeness of himself and his enemies. Sam Raimi’s strong sense of visuals and of humor comes through in many places, including a ferocious use of a “dipping bird” prop, and some lovingly frenzied close-ups of Neeson. If you were in any way taking the movie seriously, a thoroughly over-the-top transition shot with Frances McDormand should take care of that idea in a hurry. The performances in the movie range from the understated (McDormand) to the wild (Neeson), and some performances oscillate back and forth between the two poles. In a way, the film can be seen both as a comment on the then-recent Batman, and as a precursor to the work Raimi would later do with the Spider Man films. Darkman’s origin is quite similar to that of the Joker in Burton’s 1989 film, only with the situation neatly reversed to make that character the hero, or anti-hero. Danny Elfman’s score underlines the similarities between the two films, while also amplifying the outlandish nature of the whole thing. Darkman has previously been on DVD and HD-DVD, with the DVD edition including a theatrical trailer that is not part of the current release. From what I can ascertain, the current Blu-ray simply ports over the 1080p VC-1 transfer from the HD-DVD and uses a DTS-HD MA audio mix. There are no special features, aside from the usual Blu-ray functionality, including BD-Live and the My Scenes bookmarking function. VIDEO QUALITY 3/5 Darkman is presented in a 1080p VC-1 1.85:1 transfer that I believe comes directly from the prior HD-DVD release. It’s not a bad transfer, but there are some moments where the image goes a little soft – particularly a late scene in an office with Colin Friels. I should note that I am watching the film on a 40” Sony XBR2 HDTV. If anyone is watching the film on a larger monitor and is having issues, please post them on this thread. AUDIO QUALITY 3 ½/5 Darkman is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, which mostly lives in the front channels while Danny Elfman’s score fills the surrounds. There’s a little subwoofer activity when called for by gunfire or explosions, and a late helicopter sequence has some punch to it. I will say that my favorite part of this mix came in a bit of voiceover at the very end of the film, where the voice can be heard in the surround channels. SPECIAL FEATURES 0/5 The Blu-Ray presentation of Darkman comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity and My Scenes functionality, but no special features relating to the film – not even the trailer that was included in the original DVD release. BD-Live - The more general BD-Live screen is accessible via the menu, which makes various online materials available, including tickers, trailers and special events. My Scenes - The usual bookmarking feature is included here. The film is subtitled in English. The usual pop-up menu is present, along with a complete chapter menu. IN THE END... Darkman is likely to appeal mostly to fans of Sam Raimi, who will appreciate having an HD copy of the movie if they don’t already own the HD-DVD. It’s a fun ride if you can turn your thinking cap off, and there’s some very witty visuals and dialogue, as one would normally expect from Raimi. The movie hasn’t particularly aged well, but I doubt that Raimi’s many fans will mind that at all. Kevin Koster June 28, 2010.