DARKMAN II: THE RETURN OF DURANT
DARKMAN II: DURANT RETURNS
Such was an astute decision as Larry Drake is the best thing about the film. Not that Darkman II: The Return of Durant is a particularly bad film on the whole, it is an entirely average effort. However, Larry Drakes presence is excellent he is even better here than he was in the first film. The scheme the plot outfits him with to regain control of crime in the city by selling particle beam weapons to right-wing vigilante groups so they will wipe out the opposition is positively ingenious.
Unfortunately, Darkman II: The Return of Durant never rises to the potential brimming inside it. Director Bradford May gives it the frustratingly banal look of a made-for-tv movie. It lacks any distinctive flair although there is one good scene where Renee OConnor tries to escape in a taxi, only to be caught in a traffic jam and unable to decide which hood the real one or Darkman wearing his face running along on either side of the car is the one to trust. The plot does also have an annoying number of holes and outright implausibilities journalist Kim Delaney conducts an amazing intuitive leap where she tries to trace the fingerprints left by Darkman on a cup, finds that he has none, tracks down his post office box and then deduces from this that he is Westlake. The climax of the film rather unbelievably has Darkman being able to put on a pursuing hoods face after just popping behind a crate.
Various campy one-liners are served up hoods noting thats what violence in cartoons does in the midst of beating people up; one hood being crisped until all that is left is his steel hip joint whereupon Drake is given to comment: Hip-hip-hooray. One should not complain too much as this is only following in the first films footsteps. (Larry Drake does have the amusingly quotable line: Paranoia is total awareness). One of the sillier aspects of the first film that the sequel chooses to copy are the zooms inside Darkmans brain every time he gets angry but done here on a low-budget and represented by montage footage of A-bombs and skulls, it is an effect that is even sillier than the first time.
Arnold Vosloo, replacing Liam Neeson from the first film, is poorly cast. He comes with what sounds like a South African accent and where he should be projecting heroic stature or dark intensity, his Westlake is annoyingly bland. The subsequent sequel, Darkman III: Die Darkman Die, is an altogether better film.
The film is notable for the casting of Arnold Vosloo, later to become the title character in The Mummy (1999) and of Renee OConnor, who shortly after was cast as the sidekick Gabrielle in Renaissances hit tv series Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001) and here plays a stripper. Director Bradford May has worked as a cinematographer and director mostly in tv. He has directed numerous episodes of shows ranging from Hawaii Five-O to The Twilight Zone, JAG and NCIS, as well as tv movies like Lethal Lolita: The Amy Fisher Story (1992), Marilyn and Bobby: Her Final Affair (1993) and Madonna: Lost Innocence (1994). His other ventures into genre material include the disaster mini-series Asteroid (1997), the monster movie Gargantua (1998), the killer cyborg film Millennium Man (1999), the occult film Devils Prey (2001) and The Storm (tv mini-series, 2009) about weather control.