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Daredevil (2003)

  Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson
Starring: Ben Affleck, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Garner
Links: Daredevil on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Action

This movie gets: 3.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Daredevil (2003) is also mentioned in mino's review of Hulk (2003) and mino's review of The Big Hit (1998).

"Blind Man's Guff" - a review by mino

The comic-book superhero film is a very simple genre, yet one that's surprisingly difficult to get right. For every Superman (1978), there's a Dick Tracy (1990); for every Batman (1989), there's a Batman Forever (1995); for every Spider-Man (2002) &mdash well, unfortunately, there's a Daredevil.

In fact, Daredevil is so like Spider-Man in many ways — except the ones that made the latter a good movie — that it would seem that Daredevil was made by someone who had seen Spider-Man, and thought that it would be a really cool idea to make something similar, but had no idea what they were doing at all, and in fact weren't really paying attention while they were watching it anyway.

There's a fine line which must be observed when making a superhero movie; you want camp, but not so ridiculously camp as to reach the level of way too camp, and hence just plain dumb. Daredevil, alas, is just plain dumb.

Daredevil is the story of Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck), a lawyer who was blinded as a child. To add insult to injury, the poor tyke then had his father murdered more or less in front of him. Of course, he then swore revenge and vowed to use his heightened senses of hearing, touch, taste and smell to track down and avenge blah blah blah, you know the drill. Actually, I'm not sure that his sense of taste was that useful in fighting crime, but you get the idea.

Affleck is passable as a blind lawyer; as a blind superhero, he's rather less convincing. It seems quite like he's just going through the motions, in fact, and is not even sure himself that this film was a good idea (it wasn't).

At least, though, Affleck can take some pride in the fact that, mediocre though he is, he is not even remotely close to the worst actor in the film. That dubious honour goes to the truly execrable Colin Farrell, as the resident ‘baddie’, Bullseye. Not only is that character is about as menacing and scary as your average lollipop lady, but Farrell himself not only crosses the aformentioned ‘camp vs. dumb’ line, he crosses it several times in either direction, then walks up to it and takes a crap on it. He's truly godawful. Really. He's that bad. At least Michael Clarke Duncan as Bullseye's boss, the imaginatively-named crime kingpin ‘Kingpin’ (no, really), manages to just play up to the cigar-smoking bad-guy image without being nearly as painful to watch as Farrell.

The love interest in Daredevil is provided by Jennifer Garner, playing secret agent Sydney Bristow. Oh no — that's not right, that's her character in Alias. Ahh well, makes no difference, does it? I mean, it's the same basic character. Anyway, Garner is also moderately awful, but fortunately more on the level of Affleck rather than Farrell. However, while Garner and Affleck are both passable on their own, there's more chemistry going on in the average house brick than there is between these two. In fact, between them they reach new heights of mediocrity. To set a record, for example, for the worst fight scene ever recorded on film is quite an achievement. To set a record for the worst seduction scene ever recorded on film is also rather noteworthy. For Garner and Affleck to set both these records in one movie would be truly remarkable; the fact that they manage to set them both in the same scene is nothing short of astonishing. Well done, Jen and Ben.

Even more irritating — and I say this as someone who wouldn't recognize a ‘filmmaking technique’ if it leapt up and bit me on the mise en scéne — is the way that the director seems to have read about a whole bunch of filmmaking ideas in an old issue of Variety while waiting in a dentist's or something, and used them to death. Case in point: the old reflection-in-sunglasses shot, which is used here about eight times. There are variations, of course: the reflection-in-sunglasses, the reflection-in-regular-eyeglasses, the reflection-in-superhero-faceplate, even the rather imaginative reflection-in-puddle. I mean, get over yourself, Mark Steven Johnson. And can the religious symbolism, too, unless you can be subtle. I mean, bullethole stigmata? Please.

Look, I could go on about Daredevil all day. However, I'd feel like a total bastard if I didn't say something nice about it. So, uh… hmm. The opening credit sequence is really cool. No, really, it is. Pity that it's all downhill from there.

mino gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 28 Apr 2003

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Number of reviews: 1
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Reader comments

  1. good

    Rating given: 7

    A comment from blah on Wed 03 Mar 2004 09:32 #

  2. Ben Affleck was awesome!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Tiffany on Wed 24 Mar 2004 21:19 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 8.50 (2 ratings)

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