February 20, 2003

Devil Is Not Daring

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Wow. I don’t even know how to begin describing how truly horrible this movie actually is. The only justification I have for seeing it is that I have to review it for this newspaper. And for those of you who paid your hard-earned money to see this crap, I’m very sorry for you, and this includes the friend that I dragged with me.

You know it’s not going to be the best movie when the opening credits are one of the highlights of the film; the braille that decorates the screen morphs into the actors names after a few moments. It was a pretty neat gimmick and I was enjoying myself. Then the movie began.

For those of you not in-the-know, let me explain how the character of Daredevil, a.k.a Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) comes into being. The story of Murdock’s past as a child is told through flashbacks depicting how tough Hell’s Kitchen was; how he was picked on by bullies and an alcoholic washed up prize-fighter of a dad. After he’s blinded by an unknown chemical, young Murdock wakes up in the hospital to find that his sense of hearing has become acute to a superhuman extent. Murdock then hones his hearing to act as a type of radar, giving him a mental image of his surroundings. At this point, my friend wondered if there was going to be an epidemic of kids going out and blinding themselves so that they too could acquire super-human hearing.

As for the plot, this is sort of how the movie goes: jumbled story line that has no real emotion, no real explanation, and no real sense. The character Bullseye’s (Colin Farrell) plane ride from England to New York is a good example of how random this movie really is. The spiky faced leather aficionado is seated next to a nice old granny type that proceeds to talk at length to Bullseye. So what does the psychotic bad guy do? Banks a peanut off the seat in front of him into the grandmother’s open mouth, causing her to promptly choke and die. He then proceeds to proposition a hot flight attendant. There’s no real point to this scene: we already know Bullseye is a psychopath, the poor lady is dead for no reason, and the plot has not been advanced at all. For those of you who worry about the reviewer tipping off important plot occurences, don’t worry, this scene doesn’t matter at all.

Usually bad movies at least live up to what they promise, if nothing more. Sadly, Daredevil does not even deliver as a good action movie. The fight sequences are so badly organized and choreographed that you’re either bored beyond belief or have no idea what the hell is going on. Plus, the special effects aren’t all that fantastic. Another remark from my friend was that the entire budget must’ve gone into paying for the big name stars, as opposed to money for effects, script, director, and so on, and I’m inclined to believe him. I definitely think Affleck was a poor choice, as he pretty much just mopes around from scene to scene, trying his best to be wooden and unrealistic.

Though, in all honesty, there were some redeeming qualities that kept Daredevil from receiving a negative towers. Colin Farrell is very good as Bullseye and was my favorite character, right up until the ridiculous line where he requested his own costume from Kingpin. Jennifer Garner, who plays Elektra Natchios, is in her element as the kickass female superhero. Her physically intensive role on TV’s Alias seems to have primed her for action scenes in heels. And, as Kingpin, Michael Clarke Duncan has an amazing presence that allows him to pull almost anything off. But the real highlight of the movie, for me anyway, was Kevin Smith in a cameo as a morgue attendant. Comic lovers will appreciate the fact that Smith actually wrote for the Daredevil comic series during the 1980’s.

I was actually kinda excited to see this movie. I really like comic books and I used to read them all the time as a kid (and I still consider myself a kid), so this new kick of Hollywood’s, making comics into movies, is the stuff that I love. Sadly, I was disappointed with Daredevil, and I have a feeling that almost everyone else that sees this movie will be let down as well.

As a last note, I do have to add that perhaps this movie will inspire guys to be more creative with their pick-up lines. Murdock follows Elektra out of a coffee shop and picks a fight to learn her name. This was honestly one of the best scenes in the movie, and undoubtedly the hottest.

Archived article by Sue Karp