Peyton Westlake: Take the fucking elephant!
When Sam Raimi couldn't get a job directing the superhero movies he wanted to do, he made up his own, and god dammit, it worked. Of course he went on to make "SpiderGold" a decade later, but here he still makes this kick ass R-rated superhero movie, with a neat premise, a fun score, and plenty of Raimi-style humor.
Liam Neeson stars as Dr. Peyton Westlake. He is developing a synthetic skin process in his laboratory, when one day a group of mobsters brake into his lab, wreak his stuff, torture Westlake, and then attempt to blow him up.
This beating was partly caused by his girlfriend, played by Frances McDormand, who has stumbled across some problems involving the boss of her big company.
Westlake, some how survives the explosion and is treated to some kind of experimental process that effects his physical strength and abilities, but also ruins his temper.
Now mutilated, he finds a new area in a condemned building to continue his work, learning how to create masks that last for a certain amount of time, and eventually engages in a tricky plan to get revenge on those who harmed him.
The story follows most outcast superhero stories involving a tragic hero, in this case Westlake is similar to the Phantom of the Opera. Basically Raimi has made a superhero/monster movie in the style of Evil Dead, with plenty of dark comedy running throughout.
Darkman: [to conference attendees after crashing through a skyscraper window] Excuse me.
The main draw of this movie is its style. Made on a modest budget, anyone who knows the Evil Dead films knows that Raimi is a wild man with the camera when the time calls for it, and it provides some zany sequences. The whole film resembles a pulpy kind of afternoon matinée from way back in the day. It is not afraid to go over the top with the melodrama or the action and the movie is better for it.
It also helps that this movie whips by. It's a lot of fun throughout, and was able to spawn a decent following with its to direct-to-video sequels, comics, toys, and even a Bruce Campbell cameo.
Rick: Oh, god! Don't! I've told you everything!
Darkman: [softly] I know, Rick. I know you did.
Darkman: But let's pretend you didn't!