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Daredevil (2003)

26 February 2003 by Chad No Comment

DAREDEVIL


2003, dir. Mark Steven Johnson

103 min. Rated PG-13.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan.

Review by Chad J. Shonk

THE MAN WITHOUT PLOT

I’m not afraid to tell you that I was shaking going in to see DAREDEVIL. “Why?” you ask? Has Hollywood finally turned Chad into a cokehead? Well, of course, but that’s not why I was shaking. Do you have some sort of palsy? Well, maybe, but that’s not it either. I was shaking because I was so fucking scared of this movie.

You see, I am almost as big of a Daredevil fan as Bobby. And I think a Daredevil movie is a fucking genius idea. Like Internet porn genius, I mean. Real genius. Like Val Kilmer and shit. And the movie in my head, well, it’s bad ass. But I knew that Mark Steven Johnson’s DAREDEVIL would not be the movie in my head. It never is. I learned that back in 1999.

    

You see, Daredevil history only has really three big storylines in the comics. There’s his origin, which could probably make a whole movie. There’s the “Born Again” storyline, which kicks ass. And then there’s the Electra/Bullseye saga, which is the most popular and arguably the best of the bunch. And THAT was the story they were telling in this movie (along with the origin) and I knew that good or bad, this was the only time they were gonna put it on screen. And I prayed for them not to fuck it up.

And, surprise surprise, THEY DID. THEY FUCKED IT UP.

Bobby pretty much hit the nail on the head with some things:

1) Affleck passable. I think the main reason no one’s slamming his performance is because he isn’t even closest to the worst thing in the film.
2) Michael Clark Duncan. I have to disagree with Noel. I thought he was terrible. Not because he’s black, but, as Bobby said, because he’s not menacing. Not scary.

3) The Fight Scenes. Well, they sucked. But I think Noel has it right. Choreographed well, shot like shit.

    

What I wanted to do was draw some attention to some things no one has brought up.

First off, this movie is a Rip-off of THE CROW. Not a direct rip-off mind you, but it is obvious that Johnson watched it before heading into filming. THE CROW, for those of you who don’t know, was an Alex Proyas film from 1994 based on the J.O. Barr underground black and white comic. It came out in a publicity storm after its leading man, Brandon Lee, was accidentally killed near the end of filming. With this hype, the film went on to become a surprise hit and spawned one shitty theatrical sequel (the only bright spot in that film being a cameo by the Deftones) and one straight to video sequel (who wants to bet Kirsten Dunst doesn’t put that one on her resume?). THE CROW is, in my opinion, a cool little dark goth violent action movie with some great visuals and a bitchin’ soundtrack. Now, Daredevil the character predates the Crow by many decades, but the influence of the one film on the other is undeniable. Any movie or comic fan must have scratched their head at the kerosene “DD” that Daredevil leaves for Ben Urich to find.

cough cough RIP OFF! cough

Pardon me.

THE CROW includes two kick ass musical montages set to pop songs. So does DAREDEVIL. The difference? Well, Proyas had the Cure and Nine Inch Nails and The Violent Femmes and Rage Against the Machine to work with. DAREDEVIL, as Bobby Pointed out, had crap. I mean god awful smack my ass and call me Susan CRAP. I listen to a lot of crap (just ask Noel) but even I hadn’t heard of most of these poseur bands. These sequences reminded me of the scene in Rocky IV when Sly gets in the Porsche and jams to “There’s No Easy Way Out” while shifting angrily while reliving his last three and a half films. Yes. That bad.

    

And another thing. Johnson is a comic fan. He should be aware of the damage Joel Schumacher has done to comic films. And yet, AND MOTHERFUCKING YET, He treats us to a Daredevil suiting up sequence that reeks of Schumacher at his most homo-erotic. I swear, if there had been a codpiece shot I would have gone at that screen with a knife like I was carving a turkey.

Which brings us to (well not really) Jennifer Garner as Electra. Look. Garner’s an attractive young woman. I heard she’s good on that show that I don’t watch and that’s great. BUT SHE’S NOT GREEK. And it’s not that she’s not Greek. It’s that she’s not exotic at all. She is so Goddam American I bet her pussy tastes like apple pie.

But that’s not the problem. The problem is that she is so fucking underwritten it hurts. This movie opened on Valentine’s Day. Affleck and Garner, when appearing on various talk shows to shill their product, kept saying that it was really a love story. Nuts. The love story was so bad it made Episode II look like….well…Love Story.

The real problem with this movie is the last act. For the first hour, I have to admit I was enjoying it. Yeah, there was some annoying shit but I liked the DD in-jokes, Colin Ferrel, Foggy, the origin was well done, DD vision. I wasn’t 100% happy, but I never am. Then came the last half-hour.

Oh my god. Why hasn’t anyone pinpointed this as the moment the movie went from “eh” to “AHHHHHHHH!” The moment Electra dies, it is all down hill. And it pains me to say that, being that Electra’s death (and the image thereof) is the single most famous moment in all of Daredevil. And I daresay the most powerful. And, while it’s done okay, it is followed by the worst series of events since the chaos that followed after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (it’s called history, people! Try to keep Up). The rest of the film is just back to back terrible fight scenes. I mean bad.

Plus, honestly, are we supposed to believe that DD, terrible injured, just lies there while his girlfriend gets killed, THEN finds the strength to get up and not only fight Bullseye, but beat him? Say that I believed that. THEN he runs across town to fight the Kingpin. And beats him? Just ten minutes ago he couldn’t get his Chasin’ Amy ass of the pavement, all of a sudden he’s tearing the Green Mile a new pothole. Fuck that.

    

I know this hasn’t been very articulate, but I am teeming with rage. I saw the flick two weeks ago, and just writing about it has made me red and sweaty (or maybe that’s the porn and beer).

Oh, and by the way, there is a difference between a vigilante and a superhero. Vigilantes kill. Superheroes don’t. The Punisher. He kills (boy howdy). But DD? No way. The only time was when he tried to kill Bullseye for killing Electra. It was a great morally ambiguous moment that was made great by the fact that he had never killed before, but, in this moment, he decided to kill Bullseye. It was a dark moment in DD history and in this fucking excuse for a movie he just tosses him out of a window like McBain would his Chief (it’s called the Simpsons, people. try to catch up).

In summation to this rather pointless rant, both the movie fan and the Daredevil fan in my were disappointed with this flick. The movie fan just thought it sucked. It didn’t Spawn suck. It didn’t Batman & Robin suck. But it Batman Forever sucked. And that’s a lot of suck.

A lot of suck indeed.

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