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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: February 20th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1990

Darkman: Collector's Edition - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Darkman was one of those pioneering films in the comic book genre that only Sam Raimi could perfect. More than three decades later, the film still holds up with its mix of action, horror, and comedy with some amazing performances from Neeson and McDormand and some gnarly makeup effects. The new 4K image with Dolby Vision looks excellent and the DTS-HD 5.1 still sounds okay but an upgrade would have been nice. There's also a great mix of new extras along with the vintage ones. Highly Recommended! 

 

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p/HEVC
Length:
96
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1 / 2.0
Subtitles/Captions:
English
Release Date:
February 20th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Darkman was released in 1990 and some 34 years later, it manages to be groundbreaking and a ton of fun. This is Sam Raimi at his best outside of Bruce Campbell and The Evil Dead franchise. And it tells a pre-cursor tale of how well Sam Raimi would do in comic book, and superhero films twelve years later. His masterful craft of combining horror, action, and comedy is unparalleled still to this day. And his work with Liam Neeson is simply grande. It's a shame this film was never properly given a sequel, although two sequels exist, but without Raimi or Neeson. But this movie still has a lot of heart in the characters and us pure Raimi living his best life that would eventually lead him to the web-slinger in the MCU.

Darkman is three genres in one movie where Raimi mixes these ingredients in such a way that the story flows fluidly with terror, thrills, and comedy. Neeson plays the abnormal superhero perfectly where his face is covered due to an accident that gives him realistic super-strength as he has lost the ability to feel physical pain. His lawyer girlfriend is in the middle of a deal gone bad to build a new city with her boss and the city's crime lords. Darkman must stop them before anyone else dies and before the city is run by gangsters. But just like in Raimi's work, there are wonderful elements of terror and horror on display in the form of gory entrails, torture, and otherworldly forces. 

But then again in Darkman, he adds these silly, violent action sequences that will make audiences laugh instead of squirm. On top of that, there is the gangster element to it all, which to some might feel like an uneven way of storytelling, but realistically, this is Raimi at his best. He's playing the greatest hits of his favorite style of movies and weaving them all into one movie. It works perfectly, even 34 years later where it looks like Neeson is having the best time of his life. Plus the character Darkman just oozes a cinema landscape of coolness. Hopefully in this era of remakes and legacy sequels, Raimi and Neeson can come back one more time and strike gold again with a sequel. 

 

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Darkman burns its way to 4K + Blu-ray via Scream Factory with two discs that are housed inside a hard, black plastic case and cardboard sleeve. The artwork resembles an updated version of the original movie poster and looks great. The discs themselves have stills from the film on them. There is no insert of digital code. 

Video Review

Ranking:

Darkman comes with an exquisite, new 2160p UHD 4K transfer with Dolby Vision. The new transfer is from the original camera negative that had been put through the wringer. But with the supervision and approval from Sam Raimi and Bill Pope themselves, this is the best Darkman has looked thus far. The results are phenomenal with bold, rich colors that take this visual playing field to the next level.

This movie is anything but dark though as previous transfers have shown the warmth and golden color palette this picture gives off. The new 4K image with Dolby Vision enhances these elements with more natural interiors of wood paneling and amber lighting. Raging fire looks better as well. Darker sequences now have inkier black levels without any murky shadows. The colder aspects of the picture contrast better with the more natural elements. The red blood and purple tissue of the Darkman's face look amazing now.

The vivid and sharp detail reveals great closeups that include practical makeup effects, gory wounds, burnt skin, individual hairs, melting skin, gore, and more. The textures in the bandages and wardrobe also look excellent. Wider shots of the city exteriors and interior office buildings are fantastic and never soft. The Dolby Vision enhances these colors and details to their fullest potential, making this video presentation one of the better transfers that Scream Factory has released. 

Audio Review

Ranking:

The same DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix is transferred to this 4K release. That's a shame too because Sam Raimi films are ripe with audio cues and action of the highest caliber. Darkman is no different, which is why it's upsetting that this new release didn't receive a new Dolby Atmos track, given the amount of action and horror this movie exudes. This transported 5.1 track does the job fine enough, but it's front-heavy with the action sequences getting more room and speakers to play around. Plus, this track is more than ten years old and is due for an upgrade. 

 

Special Features

Ranking:

There is a whopping 216 minutes worth of bonus materials included here, plus two commentary tracks. The NEW items are a commentary track from filmmaker and superfan Josh Ruben and 37 minutes of deleted scenes. The rest have all been imported over from previous releases.

4K Disc

  • New Audio Commentary - Luckily with this new release, Scream Factory is giving a new bonus feature in the form of a commentary track from the movie's number one superfan Josh Ruben. This superfan also directed the great film Werewolves Within a couple of years ago. This filmmaker dives into the production, lore, and history of the production and actors, which is a great delight. It's fun, hilarious, and full of some good information. 
  • Vintage Audio Commentary - The old commentary track with Bill Pope who is an excellent talker and reveals his methods, technical aspects, and career in the business. 

Blu-ray Disc

  • New Audio Commentary - with Josh Ruben
  • Vintage Audio Commentary - The old commentary track with Bill Pope who is an excellent talker and reveals his methods, technical aspects, and career in the business. 
  • New Deleted Scenes (HD, 37 Mins.) - In full frame, but 1080p, there are a wealth of deleted sequences that were cut from the film that should've been added into the movie as an alternate cut. Nonetheless, this gives a new perspective on the film itself and is all worth watching. 
  • Interview with Liam Neeson (HD, 8 Mins.) -AN older Neeson interview who energetically talks about working on the film and his love for Raimi.
  • The Name is Durant with Larry Drake (HD, 16 Mins.) - Larry Drake has a great talk about being typecast in movies and his love of Raimi and this movie.
  • The Face of Revenge with Makeup Designer Tony Gardner (HD, 14 Mins.) - This is an awesome piece on how all of the practical makeup effects were built, made, and applied.
  • Henchmen Tales (HD, 13 Mins.) - The villains of the film are all discussed here.
  • Dark Design (HD, 17 Mins.) - The production design is the topic of discussion.
  • An Interview with Frances McDormand (HD, 11 Mins.) - Frances talks about her relationship with Raimi,  the Coen Bros., and working on this film with a tidbit about AC/DC. 
  • Darkman Featurette (HD, 8 Mins.) - This is an EPK about the film. 
  • Cast and Crew Interviews (HD, 9 Mins.) - Here are some more interviews with the cast and crew.
  • Vintage Interview Galleries (HD, 84 Mins.) - Interviews with Liam Neeson, Sam Raimi, Frances McDormand, and Colin Friels are all available here.

The studios certainly don't make movies like Darkman anymore, but at least Sam Raimi holds true to his roots still to this day. Darkman holds up as that iconic fun, horrifying, and action-packed anti-hero trying to save the day with some goofy moments sprinkled in, just like Raimi intended. And now Scream Factory has finally given the film its due 4K image with Dolby Vision. The same DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix is intact with a wealth of extras that include a new commentary track and almost forty minutes' worth of new deleted scenes. Highly Recommended!

Order Your Copy of Darkman on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray