Reviewed on 2011 January 23
Sam Raimi did this comic-bookish cult movie way before the recent batch of Marvel flicks, and it also has Frances McDormand, Liam Neeson, and some very funny quotes.
Peyton Westlake (Neeson) is a brilliant scientist on the verge of creating something that could save or improve many lives. He’s invented a synthetic skin that could be a gift for anyone needing a graft, and while it looks like real skin it still needs work: it can only be exposed to light for a pretty short amount of time before it deteriorates. Before he gets a chance to completely solve the problem, his lab is blown apart by the psychotic Robert G. Durant (Larry Drake) and his squad of gangsters. A lot of his research is gone, his beloved Julia (McDormand) thinks he’s dead, and he’s horribly disfigured. When you do these things to any ordinary man he’ll come for revenge; factor in coming between a lab geek and his life’s work, and you’ve put a rush notification on your own death warrant. Peyton is going to get the men who did this to him, and he’s going to be thorough about it.
Larry Drake is great as the cigar (and then some) clipping Durant, and perfect opposite Neeson. The dialogue veers between comic-book corny and inspired throwaway lines, and fits the rest of the movie. Besides, even though most people wouldn’t lose it the way Peyton did at the carnival, I think everyone can understand it — who hasn’t had a “Take the ^%$#!!!! elephant!” moment? Even when it leaves any sense of reality bloodied and in a ditch, it’s a good Saturday afternoon popcorn movie.
Three chocolate morsels.