Friday Fisticuffs: Daredevil (2003)

Back before I knew for sure how good comic book movies could be with Iron Man and Batman Begins, I thought Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil was a pretty damn good flick. I was and still am a fan of Ben Affleck and really appreciated how the film wasn’t bogged down as an origin or Year One type story. They cover some of that stuff and then move on to a story about a hero who’s been doing his thing for a while.

So, how does it hold up? Not great, unfortunately, but I still like it. Aside from Jon Favreau’s performance as Foggy Nelson (I completely forgot he’s played not one, but two sidekicks to super heroes) and moments when Affleck’s Matt Murdock is hitting on Elektra, most of the performances are a bit overwrought. We get it, Murdock, your life kinda stinks. Actually, I thought Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin and Colin Ferrell as Bullseye were kind of awesome in an over-the-top way that reminded me of Punisher: War Zone, another film I dug.

But, the purpose of this post isn’t necessarily to discuss the finer points of the film and performances or how well it compares to the comic (something I care much less about almost 10 years later than I did when I was 20). The point is to talk about the fights. And, they’re actually pretty rad. Your mileage may vary, especially considering some of the goofier moments, like Matt and Elektra play fighting on a playground doing all kinds of crazy flips and whatnot and the fact that most of the final battle takes place on a giant church organ. The following clip has a pretty gigantic SPOILER if you haven’t seen the flick.

I thought they did a good job approximating Daredevil’s super senses in the early fight scene where he goes after a woman beater and rapist named Jose Quesada who got away with the crime (seriously, I can’t believe they named a rapist after Joe Q, that’s ridiculous). They look sleek and fast, but the whole shakey cam thing with super fast cuts hadn’t come into vogue just yet, so you can actually see what’s happening. Farrell and Garner deserve extra credit because you can actually see their faces during these scenes. I have no idea if Affleck did his own fights or what, but it would have been easy to sneak someone else in.

Anyway, like I said, it’s not a great film. It doesn’t really hold a candle to the two movies I mentioned above and I’m not really sure where I would rank it in my all time favorite Marvel movies, but I still like it.

Quick Movie Review: The Slammin’ Salmon (2009)

I haven’t been super impressed with The Broken Lizard flicks aside from Super Troopers. To be fair, I haven’t seen Club Dread and I loved Beerfest…when I saw it buzzed, watching it again later, it was a too-long bore and their first flick Puddle Cruiser was pretty much amateur hour (of course, it was a college indie film, but a good script doesn’t raise the budget). I actually didn’t even realize they had a new movie out in The Slammin’ Salmon, so its very existence surprised me along with how freaking great it is.

The plot revolves around a restaurant owned by a former boxer (Michael Clarke Duncan) who needs the place to make $20,000 so he can pay off a gambling debt. The manager pushes the waiters (most of the Broken Lizard crew with How I Met Your Mother’s Cobie Smulders and April Bowlby who also popped up on a few episodes of HIMYM apparently) to sell like crazy and, as you might expect, shenanigans ensue. One of the wait staff gets pretty badly burned, one goes off his meds and an alternate personality takes over, the new guy gets hazed and someone eats an expensive diamond engagement ring. It’s the kind of comedy goodness you should come to expect from the gang.

It’s hard to compare this movie to Super Troopers which has taken on a pretty high spot in my mental list of great comedies from the last 10-15 years, but I do think that this might be the first time the guys live up to the high standards they showed us they could reach with that flick.