Monday, March 03, 2003

Review of Daredevil ( spoilers ahead ):

I saw this without any prior knowledge of the comic book version, so I'm not sure if that would've altered my opinion.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. Ben Affleck is well-cast as Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer who uses his other 4 heightened senses to fight crime in Hell's Kitchen. Equally engaging is Jennifer Garner ( most famous for her role in "Alias" ) as Elektra Natchios, a wealthy heiress who matches wits and kungfu skills with Daredevil. Villains-wise, we have Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin, plus an over-the-top Colin Farrell as Bullseye.

As you can imagine, with a cast like that, any movie is bound to be exciting, and that's precisely what works best for Daredevil. Sure, the action sequences aren't bad, but "Spiderman" far surpasses in that category. I liked the little fight scene cum mating dance between Matt and Elektra in a school playground, as well as the showdown between Daredevil and Bullseye ( don't blink during that one! ). But the film is extremely dark, both in content and cinematography, so be prepared to squint as you try to make out who's who through all the rain and darkness.

Affleck, who ranks high on my list of favourite actors, is sweet yet heroic as Murdock. His boyish good looks and towering frame make him convincing in his role. Garner, who's absolutely gorgeous and very spunky in so many ways, exudes loads of charisma, generating red-hot chemistry with her co-star. Their scenes together are romantic and tender -- watch out for the one with them standing on the rooftop of a building, while the rain pours down, allowing Murdock to use his sense of hearing to see her face. It's little details like these that can make all the difference in an otherwise run-of-the-mill action flick.

I was disappointed with Clarke Duncan's portrayal of Kingpin. He's got a unique look, no doubt, but he came across as rather bland and uninspiring. Farrell, on the other hand, is excellent as Bullseye, with his oversized ego and nervous tics. His snarling "He made me miss. I NEVER miss." is hilarious! Here's a fellow who, though a self-confessed playboy-alcoholic, has been springing all sorts of nice surprised on us over the past few years ( e.g. American Outlaws, Minority Report, and the upcoming The Recruit ). He's a veritable chameleon who should continue to do well in future projects.

So the verdict? Spidey still rules, but if you're a fan of the stars in Daredevil, it's worth the time and money. Or if nothing else, here's your chance to see two rarities in Hollywood: a lawyer with a heart, and a reporter with a conscience. :)

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