ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Daredevil (2003)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Starring:
Ben Affleck/Matt
Jennifer Garner/Elektra
Colin Farrell/Bullseye
Michael Clarke Duncan/The Kingpin
PLOT-CRUNCH
Matt Murdock was plagued with two unfortunate incidents as a young tot: the murder of his father (Keith) and the loss of his sight due to an accident. Now a grown man, Murdock (Affleck) wears a tight red leather suit (beats going in drags) and fights crime in his own unique way. You see, his blindness also came with a gift; the enhancement of his remaining senses which make him a champ at jumping high rises and a deadly foe when having to take a bite out of crime. There’s a new dude in town! His name is Daredevil!
THE LOWDOWN
"Hey, that light at the end of the tunnel, guess what? That's not heaven... that's the C train!" --- Daredevil

I’ve never read the Marvel comic on which this movie is based, so I’m not sure if the adaptation is true to the comic or not. On its own though, I can safely say that I enjoyed my first (and hopefully, not my last) "Daredevil" experience.

This baby worked me on many levels. From an emotional standpoint, the touching back-story (featuring the great David Keith, no less) hit the old ticker; the “root for the underdog” vibe had me rushing for my “Rocky” soundtrack while the later portrayal of a hero who’s obviously tortured by his existence, was quite gripping. Of course, there was also a mushy love story at play and even though I didn’t buy our two rumbling love birds initial hook-up (that foreplay fist fight in the park was lame), the film went on to display enough manipulatively romantic moments between the two (that scene in the rain…sniff sniff) that I couldn’t help but fall for it anyways. Yes, I’m a sucker for that lovey-dovey shit!

Then we had the groovier than groovy physical action bursting through the screen. All I have to say is “wow”. Actually, since I get paid by the word, I’ll say more than that. If it wasn’t the flashy martial arts fist-to-foot-to-cuffs slapping a grin on my face, it was the sight of Daredevil going through town by swinging from rooftop to rooftop, sliding down wires and back-flipping like a speed freak at the Olympics kicking my ass. Granted, the CGI that was used to express the more spectacular feats was apparent at times, but it didn’t take away from the jaw-dropping experience for me. Speaking of dropping some jaws, I have to give the flick props for not only being poetically directed at times, but also for the way in which the director visually communicated Daredevil’s perception of the world. It blew my noggin!

On the blind side of things, "Daredevil" had a lot of bases to cover within its short run-time and felt like it was rushing through them at times, most likely a result of heavy editing. Another thing that semi-grated me was the derivative factor where Daredevil smelled way too much like other comic book movies. We had the soul of "Batman", the love story from "Batman Returns" and some of the action of "Spider-Man". But its worse rip was its shameful attempts at emulating "The Crow". EASY MAN! The look of the picture was practically identical, the leaving of a fire symbol was also straight from Draven-Land, while the church finale and the poignant score (by Graeme Revel, who also did the score for "The Crow") also felt too much Crow-ish for my liking. Being a huge (and I mean HUGE!) fan of "The Crow", the rips peeved me. Find your own identity for O'Barr’s sakes!

But when all was said and done, "Daredevil" was a gnarly times at the movies. It was definitely an effortless watch, had some clever dialogue (Jon Favreau had all the best lines) and sported a stellar cast to boot (Colin Farrell owned here). Also, any movie that has sequences set to pumping or touching Evanescence songs, is all good in my book. The Devil Lives!
GORE
There isn’t much gore here, but we do get needles in the neck, a dart in the head, stabbings, a Sai through the hand and a light slit throat.
ACTING
This is new for me, but I’m starting to really like Ben Affleck (Matt). I don’t feel as though he gets the respect that he deserves. Ben gave a strong show here...tapping into his role’s many emotional levels adequately. I bought it. Jennifer Garner (Elektra) also did fine, but to be honest, I was too busy looking at her chest to pay much attention to her performance. Colin Farrell (Bullseye) unleashed the dogs and often stole the show. He chewed into the scenery like the Irish madman that he is and obviously had a riot with the part. I had a riot watching him. Michael Clarke Duncan (The Kingpin) worked very well as the Kingpin and the fact that he’s black (the Kingpin is white in the comics) didn’t bother me one bit. He WAS The Kingpin. Jon Favreau (Foggy) was “Swingers” on as the comic relief of the film. David Keith (Jack) is a great man and I’m always happy to see the lad on screen. Joe Pantoliano (Ben) cashed a check.
T & A
We get Jennifer Garner pulling all kinds of cleavage shots on our asses while the ladies get a pumped Benny Affleck shirtless and one hell of a massive Michael Clarke Duncan in a tank top.
DIRECTING
Mark Steven Johnson exceeded at imbuing the film with mucho style and bleak atmosphere. I particularly adored his use of slow motion, his communication of the "Daredevil Vision" and his occasional quick cuts. Stop trying to be “The Crow” though! That’s out of line!
SOUNDTRACK
We get mucho pop/rock songs (Fuel shows up…love those guys!) but the highlights for me were “Top of the Morning to Ya” by House of Pain (good shit!) and "My Immortal" and "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence. Love those tunes to death! We also get another top notch moody score by Graeme Revel. Buy this soundtrack!
BOTTOM LINE
Granted, in light of all the other comic book movies that came before it, "Daredevil" didn’t feel all too original. But when it wasn’t ripping off "The Crow" so shamelessly, it put out enough of its own “joo-joo” to keep me involved and watching intensely. Tag to that, a strong cast, gripping visuals, an engaging soundtrack and tight action, and you get some tasty candy. I could safely say that my hour and half with the man with no fear equaled time well spent. All that to say...if there’s a sequel...I’m there!
BULL'S EYE
Both director Kevin Smith ("Clerks", "Chasing Amy") and great man Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees) have cameos in this film.

Vin “Beefcake” Diesel was once approached for the role of Bullseye. That would’ve been interesting.

Colin Farrell was offered the part of Matt Murdock, but he opted for Bullseye instead.

The movie cost $75,000,000 to make.

Director Mark Steven Johnson also wrote the screenplay for this movie.
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