Darkman II: The Return of Durant
darkman | darkman ii: the return of durant | sequel | bradford may | steven mckay | larry drake | arnold vosloo | kim delaney | superhero | action | crime | robert eisele | lawrence hertzog | sci-fi | thriller | united states | canada | renee o'connor | lawrence dane
Film: Darkman II: The Return of Durant
Director: Bradford May
Writer: Steven McKay
Starring: Larry Drake, Arnold Vosloo and Kim Delaney
This is a movie that I’m not sure if it was the one that popped up on the movie channels or if it was the next sequel. Regardless, I knew of this series, but it was one that I hadn’t seen before. Having recently seen the original, I was curious as to where we would go from there. I was glad to see that Larry Drake was returning as well since he’s a character actor that I like.
Synopsis: Darkman (Arnold Vosloo) and Durant (Drake) return. 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.
We pick up where the last one left off. Peyton Westlake aka Darkman is trying to continue his research with creating synthetic skin. He is now a vigilante who is cleaning up the streets when possible. He also has a rigged a high-tech system to get around with trains.
Robert G. Durant has been in a coma. He wakes up. I will say that he probably should be more injured from the helicopter accident he was in, but I’ll digress. His organization has ran with him in this state and Rollo Latham (Jack Langedijk) has been in charge. Now that Durant is back, he cleans up the mess. What is interesting here is that Jill Randall (Kim Delaney) is a reporter and she wants to do a report on the group. Her producer wants her to do more puff pieces so they butt heads.
Westlake sees an opportunity to further his research by seeking out Dr. David Brinkman (Jesse Collins). His family created a powerplant that produces high amounts of energy. It wasn’t cost effective though and has fallen into disuse. David now uses it for his research.
Durant also sees an opportunity here. He breaks Dr. Alfred Hathaway (Lawrence Dane) out of prison. He was working on laser technology and Durant wants to weaponize it. An offer is made to David and when he declines, he’s killed. The property then goes to David’s sister Laurie (Renée O’Connor). She wants to sell it off and be done with it due to the bad memories, but Westlake warns her of the people she’s dealing with.
The power struggle between Durant and Darkman come to a head as he tries to protect Laurie as well as keeping these new high-powered weapons off the street.
Now that is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start then is that I found it funny that Vosloo, who plays Imhotep from 1999’s The Mummy, replaces Liam Neeson as Westlake/Darkman. I don’t think it is a horrible recast, but it also isn’t good either. I think that Vosloo just has a lack of emotion and not as great in the action sequences. This movie is working with a lower budget, so there is that as well.
With that out of the way, I do think that this is a decent follow up. We are getting our villain back of Durant. The hatred between Darkman and him is there. I’m glad that Drake reprised his role. This movie plays out like the original as well. What happens to David is like what happened to Westlake’s assistant. Darkman dons the face of people to mess with Durant’s plans. It all culminates in a climatic battle. Since this is an action movie at heart that went straight to video, it knows what it is doing and doesn’t try to do more.
That’s not to say though that we don’t have good elements. There is an interesting social commentary here. Durant has fronts that he uses to buy things ‘legitimately’. The public doesn’t care and that is pointed out to Jill by her producer. When she runs the report, it is a hit. Durant creates this new weapon and tries to sell it to who I believe is a senator. He is actually a Neo-Nazi, which seeing who things have played out even today, I wouldn’t be shocked if this is truer to form than we realized. This paints the villains as bit over the top, but it might be more real than we know.
Where I’ll then go would be the acting. I’ve already said what I need to about Vosloo and Drake. Delaney is good as this reporter who wants the truth and present it, but the media is holding that back. That is another commentary that I think is still relevant. O’Connor is fine along with Collins. I liked seeing Dane here. We also have good henchmen like David Ferry, Rod Wilson, Langedijk and the like. The acting is a bit over the top, but it fits the movie we are getting.
The only other things to go into would be with the filmmaking. I think that this is shot well. There weren’t any issues I had with the cinematography. The effects were also good. The look of Darkman goes a bit more generic here, but not enough to hurt the movie. I do believe we get a bit of computer effects. It was still early into that, but I didn’t have issues there. Other than that, I’d say the soundtrack fit for what was needed.
In conclusion, this movie pales in comparison to the original. We don’t get as much Sam Raimi or Rob Tapert. They did both serve as executive producers here still. I’d say that this is decent sequel to an action movie with horror elements. It did go straight to video so keep that in mind. Drake is good. Vosloo is an odd replacement to Neeson who is fine. The rest of the cast fit what was needed. This is decently made, but don’t come in expecting too much either.
My Rating: 6 out of 10