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"Daredevil"

Directed by Mark Steven Johnson.
Written by Mark Steven Johnson.
Starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell and Michael Clarke Duncan. 
Release Year:  2003
Review Date:  2/18/03

Folks--

From the posters to the casting to the action sequences, “Daredevil” is just a bad idea.

How unsure were the producers of their product in the last four weeks?  That’s easy--the marketing campaign turned from “Ben Affleck in ‘Daredevil’” to “Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner in ‘Daredevil’” almost overnight.  Suddenly, the original campaign (with Affleck in costume looking out into space) was nixed for that same Affleck pose with Garner on ALL of the billboards and posters in the city.  It was like “Damn, why did we think that Ben could sell this picture alone?  Put the ‘Alias’ girl on the billboards, stat!”  The movie is similarly confused; by skimming on running time (a trim 95 minutes) and a decent storyline, the movie instead tries to give us “Batman Lite”, without the interesting villains, adding most of the tortured child upbringing and, of course, the rushed romance between the leads.  Add in a Colin Farrell so useless that although he is Irish in real life, he seems to slip up his Irish character Bullseye’s accent four times by my count, and what you have is a watchable-yet-bumbling mess.

Daredevil (Affleck) is really a blind lawyer named Matt Murdock, blinded in his youth but as a result awarded keen awareness of his remaining four senses and he uses these senses to protect and avenge the innocent in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC.  Although he has been trying to take down the city’s crime lord Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) for quite some time, he goes to a party in the film and meets him AND has a final showdown with him in the course of two days of film time.  (Hmm...)  Kingpin employs a hitman named Bullseye (Farrell) to take out a local billionaire that happens to be the father of some hottie named Elektra (Garner), but things go awry and this leads Daredevil to try and take out the baddies.

The plot sucked, the showdowns between Bullseye and Elektra/Daredevil were just bland; I wanted matchups like Rocky/Apollo and instead, I got Rocky/Tommy Gunn.  Is the Daredevil costume the worst superhero costume in the history of film...or maybe (if it was faithful to the Marvel comic) the worst costume in COMIC BOOK history?  It just looked silly on Affleck, ESPECIALLY whenever he was forced to run anywhere.  It either needed to be tighter, or more muscular-looking, or a different color.  Whatever the case, it didn’t look right.  In an ironic twist, the action scenes in “Alias” are much better than any of the action scenes in “Daredevil”; I wonder if Garner kept her mouth shut during the filming of them, because she must have known that those scenes needed more punch.  And, talk about spoon-feeding scenes--in the opening scene for Bullseye, Farrell is throwing darts in a pub in Ireland while an old House of Pain song is playing.  I am pretty sure one guy in the background even had an Ireland t-shirt on.  What am I, stupid?  Maybe the filmmakers had originally included a shot of a Lucky Charms cereal box next to a calendar with March 17th circled, JUST TO MAKE SURE that I gathered Bullseye is Irish.  Come on!  Oh, and don’t let me forget the supporting cast members.  Jon Favreau--he of “Swingers” and exactly nothing else--needs to star on a show not called “Dinner for Five” but one called “No More Double Stuf OREOs” because the guy is not only fat, he is really, REALLY fat.  At least he has the only two funny lines in the film not in the trailer.  And, Joe Pantoliano has got to start asking himself where he wants his long-running film career to end up.  Does “The Matrix”, then “Ready to Rumble.”  Does “Memento”, then does “The Adventures of Pluto Nash.”  As the sideline reporter here--reprising the role Robert Wuhl played in the original “Batman” film--he is totally useless.

The film does do a fantastic job of showing us what it might be like to be a blind man in New York City; talk about a nightmare!  And, Jennifer Garner’s body is nearly pimped out in “Daredevil”, as the filmmakers realized that she might be the film’s biggest asset.  But for the most part, “Daredevil” and comic book movies in general don’t look like they will be winning over too many fans this year; how bad did the trailers for “The League for Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “The Hulk” look to you?  “X2” has some promise, but don’t hold your breath.

Rating:  Rental

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09