Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Spider-Man had an excuse. He was bitten by a creepy supercrawly. Daredevil is a blind guy who can hear well. When comicbooks ran out of heroes, they resorted to the disabled. What's next? Wheelchair-Man?

Matt (Scott Terra) grew up in Hell's Kitchen, New York, with his dad (David Keith), a boxer on the juice. During his teens he was blinded in a freak accident and, later, becomes a lawyer (Ben Affleck), who goes out after hours in a leather catsuit and kills people. He's a one man justice department. "I'm not the bad guy," he keeps telling himself. That's debatable.

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Comicbooks are not about credibility, but what's going on here is far harder to accept than Clark Kent wearing funny underpants. Daredevil leaps from building to building, fights five guys at a time, would give Jet Li a drubbing and poses seductively on the top of skyscrapers. When Spidey did it, you felt, well, he does have that silk rope thing. DD has nothing, except a fancy stick that doubles as a murder weapon. When he's suited and superheroic, he's as blind as a hawk. When he's in civvies, he tap-taps down the street.

He falls into slow motion with Elektra (Jennifer Garner), the sexiest and richest girl in town. She's a martial artist as well, which accounts for the toned body. Her daddy's a billionaire and, rather than act her wealth, she prefers the Julia Roberts jeans-and-tee look, not that he would know, because he can't see a thing - allegedly.

The second richest man is called Fisk (Michael Clarke Duncan), who smokes fat Havanas and hires thugs to dispose of his enemies. One of these thugs is an Irish psychopath called Bullseye (Colin Farrell). Sooner or later, Daredevil and Bullseye are going to do the Russell Crowe, a vicious gladiatorial dance of death. But first, Matt the lawyer and Elektra the babe have to have their moment of soft focus.

The script by director Mark Steven Johnson is stuffed with portentous phrases, such as "A man without fear is a man without hope" and "This is a city, born of heroes, where one man can make a difference." The action sequences are spectacular, even for a sighted person. They are suicidal for a blind person, of course.

Affleck is best being Matt. His softer, humorous side comes out. Garner has been in the gym. She's as beautiful as a hologram. Elektra says, at one point: "Don't touch me!" But watch the way she moves. Farrell doesn't get it. Comicbook villains are over-the-top happy campers, like The Joker in Batman, so bad they're mad. Farrell puts some real acting into his portrayal of Bullseye, when all that's required is boo-hiss-ability.

Next week, DD meets Wheely in the old folks home.

Reviewed on: 13 Feb 2003
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Ben Affleck is a blind superhero, known as "the man without fear", who leaps off buildings.
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Jennie Kermode *

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Writer: Mark Steven Johnson

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, Scott Terra, Joe Pantoliano, David Keith, Erick Avari

Year: 2002

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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Daredevil - Director's Cut