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THE PHANTOM
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Paolo Barzman

Starring:
Ryan Carnes
Sandrine Holt
Jean Marchand
Cas Anvar

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

Chris Moore is a New York law student who moonlights as a parkour daredevil racing over rooftops. Unbeknownst to Chris, his real name is Kit Walker, the latest in a long line of Walkers that have worn the mantle of The Phantom, the defender of justice. Years ago, Kit's mother was murdered by assassins of the Singh Brotherhood, the long-standing arch nemesis of the Phantoms. Now a grown man, Kit must face his destiny when the Phantom's representative Abel Vandermaark shows up at his door.

Is it good movie?

Remember the 1996 movie THE PHANTOM? The one starring Billy Zane as Kit Walker? Probably not, since it was really a lame film to begin with (made even more lame by the fact that Bruce Campbell wasn't chosen for the title role). I mean, it was an okay kid's film, but it still sucked, as did all superhero films from around that time. So now we have SyFy's attempt at rebooting the series, this time with a 'reloaded' twist. But given SyFy's track record with their made-for-TV films as of late, is it worth it to even bother with this reboot?

Ironically, the thing that stuck out for me in this film wasn't Ryan Carnes' portrayal of Kit Walker, or Cas Anvar's portrayal of the Singh Brotherhood's leader, Rhatib Singh. Rather, it was the second bananas. Sandrine Holt, who plays the behind-the-scenes assistant to The Phantom named Guran, commanded a presence in the film from the get-go, coming across as someone who's intelligent and dignified. Of course, it also helped that she's close to 6 feet tall. On the other side of things, Jean Marchand plays Abel Vandermaark with a coldness that you almost wish he was in Anvar's role.

While I've never read the comic, I've always liked the concept of The Phantom as a character. Having father pass on the title to son, in effect making The Phantom immortal? Awesome, and unlike the 1996 film that started things off after Kit assumed the mantle of The Phantom, this time we get the precursor to Kit assuming the role. The opportunity to explore Kit having to not only deal with the death of his 'parents', but also having to deal with his newfound responsibility is an obvious one.

Unfortunately, the film feels like a missed opportunity. Director Paolo Barzman, a veteran of TV, couldn't really keep the pacing of the film going. The first part of the film just dragged with all the establishing of characters and plot, plus Kit doesn't even get the costume until the 2nd part! Speaking of the costume, while I understand the need to 'modernize' it, the thing just looked like an overblown Halloween costume. Really, how am I supposed to feel threatened by that as a bad guy? Topping things off is Cas Anvar's performance, which isn't so much horrible as it is cringe-worthy. Am I supposed to be scared of this guy? The fact that for the first half of the movie this guy just sits at his conference table and blabs about lame schemes involving mind control and political assassinations to 12 other members of the Singh Brotherhood is laughable.

This 'reimagined and reloaded' version of The Phantom is lame, pure and simple. What could've been a nice reintroduction to the character by SyFy to today's audiences turned into a sludgy, overacted bore that just reaffirms SyFy's tendencey to produce laughable movies. Other than Sandrine Holt and Jean Marchand, there's really no need to waste time watching this. Better yet, go fire up the '96 film, instead.

Video / Audio

Video: Being a recent production, the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks quite good. Great color saturation and detail, with film grain looking natural but unobtrusive.

Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 track fits well with the video. Dialogue is clear without any distortion.

The Extras

First up is a brief Interview with Director Paolo Barzman, who answers a few questions regarding the film and his thoughts on the project. While Barzman seems enthused about the film, you can't help but get the sense from his wishy-washy answers that the guy is trying too hard to sell us on the idea the film is something worthy of our attention.

Likewise, the Interview with Ryan Carnes 'The Phantom' has Ryan coming off as trying to come up with suitable answers for something he doesn't seem quite interested in. In fact, when asked about his preparation, nowhere does he mention reading the comic, but rather about the comic and about the character. His response to the costume, 'Is that it?' comes across as one of dumbfoundedness rather than excitement.

Also included is the film's trailer.

Last Call

Another lame SyFy film, though it's slightly better than most. If you're a fan of the comic, you'll probably want to stick to Billy Zane's interpretation of the character, while the rest of us smile, nod and walk away quickly from this film.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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