|Category||Horror||Darkman Trailer (1.85:1,
16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0)
Darkman II Trailer (1.85:1, 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0)
Darkman III Trailer (1.85:1, 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0)
DVD-ROM Web Links
|Running Time||88:51 Minutes|
|Start Up||Language Selection then Menu|
Universal Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
After a quick introductory sequence in which Doctor Peyton Westlake/Darkman (Arnold Vosloo) explains who he was and why he is the way he is now, we are soon thrown into the main story. While Darkman continues his research into breaking the ninety-nine minute barrier for his synthetic skin, crime boss Robert G. Durant (Larry Drake) recovers from an eight-hundred-plus day coma. I don't know which doctors he was in the care of for that time, but coming out of a helicopter crash with perfect skin and surviving for that long without having to spend another few years rebuilding his muscles is a mighty impressive feat. In any case, Durant sets about rebuilding his criminal empire, and decides to go back into the business of selling weaponry. Rather than sell the conventional weapons that everyone else is selling, Durant sets about rescuing Doctor Alfred Hathaway (Lawrence Dane) from the lock-up unit of a mental hospital, and enlisting his aid to build more space-age weapons. The problem is that Durant and Hathaway need a large power supply to make their weapons project work, and the only derelict building in the city with enough power to meet their needs is owned by Doctor David Brinkman (Jesse Collins). Darkman discovers that Brinkman is working on a synthetic skin of his own, using a different method that has so far extended the practical life-span of his product by about eighty minutes. When they are introduced, Darkman and Brinkman form a partnership with the aim of creating a synthetic skin that can be used indefinitely, but Durant has other plans. When Brinkman refuses to sell his building to Durant, Durant responds by killing Brinkman, although this time he demonstrates the good sense to make sure he does the job right.
Of course, Darkman is very upset about this, and decides to upset Durant's plans for domination of the underworld before making sure the man stays dead for good. To this end, he employs his synthetic skins to once again imitate his enemies and turn them against one another, while investigative reporter Jill Randall (Kim Delaney) is determined to get herself a story about the criminal activity in the city, and Laurie Brinkman (Reneé O'Connor) is unknowingly determined to sell her brother's building to the men who killed him. What happens from there is where I will stop the synopsis, as the film at least justifies the once-over in spite of the flaws. However, I strongly recommend renting the film before buying it, as it is rather mediocre in comparison to the original Darkman, especially where comedic and dramatic value is concerned.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is 16x9 Enhanced. The transfer is impeccably sharp, with a lifelike quality that defies the straight-to-video heritage of the film. Indeed, this is a much cleaner and more vivid transfer than the original Darkman, which was plagued by colour saturation problems and film grain, although it appears they were carried over from the source material. The only disappointment in the transfer of this sequel compared to the original is the shadow detail, with blacks often containing little discernible detail, and a couple of shots not quite making sense as a result. There is no low-level noise in these wide patches of black, however.
The colour saturation in this transfer remains consistent with that of the previous episode in one respect, with all colours having a faded and muted look, albeit without the variations in the brightness during daylight sequences that occurred in the original Darkman. I guess the best way to summarize the colour saturation of this film would be to call it a darker version of Batman without the clever use of discreet lighting, and the transfer reflects this.
MPEG artefacts were not a problem with this transfer, which appears to have been taken from a very clean and recent interpositive, and it has also been given a very high bitrate. Film-to-video artefacts were not a specific problem with this transfer, either, with no major instances of shimmer or telecine wobble. Indeed, this is a very film-like and natural-looking image, with neither the conversion to home video nor the compression taking away from the general ugliness of the picture. Film artefacts consisted of a handful of small and unobtrusive flecks on the picture, most of them going by unnoticed. Overall, this is one transfer that makes me very happy Universal now have their own local distributor.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place at 58:25. This is in between two segments of dialogue within the same sequence, so the placement can be described as good.
The dialogue in this film is clear and easy to understand for the most part, although some lines were on the border of becoming hard to make out because of Arnold Vosloo's accent. There were no audio sync problems with most of the feature, but the footage edited from the original Darkman had some problems as Vosloo's voice was less than perfectly dubbed over that of Liam Neeson. There were no problems that could be blamed upon the transfer, however, at least not subjectively.
The score music in this film is credited to Randy Miller, with some themes being credited to Danny Elfman. It is hard to tell exactly whether Elfman's themes were re-recorded or merely recycled from the previous film, but when you take this score as a whole, it does a perfectly adequate job of enhancing the story and feel of the film. Overall, this is the best kind of film score that one can hope for without it being too distinct.
The surround channels were used to support the music and some special effects, but there were no split surround effects or any discrete sound placements. This is a real pity, although the original film didn't receive the benefits of a 5.1 remix, either. The mix can be described as being somewhat front-heavy, with most of the sounds coming from the stereo channels. Still, the surrounds did a more than adequate job of supporting the sound effects that called for redirection. The subwoofer was used frequently to support the lower end of the soundtrack, with the music, explosions, and other such effects being given plenty of bass. Overall, a perfectly adequate matrix-encoded soundtrack, although it isn't the best you're ever likely to hear.
The video quality is excellent, save for a lack of shadow detail.
The audio quality is good, but let down by ordinary surround usage.
The extras are basic, but sufficient.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), using S-video input, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|