Anthony's Film Review

Blankman (1994)

This superhero spoof has potential, but it ends up being a little too stupid...

Comedies that spoof other movies succeed or fail depending on various factors. Bad spoofs, I notice, tend to present uninspiring (or even annoying) characters, an uncreative cardboard plotline, and attempts at humor that are just not funny. Obviously, good spoofs do the opposite, basically having the characteristics of good comedies in general. But if there is one thing that truly separates the good spoof from the bad spoof, it's that a good spoof can stand on its own. In other words, we may still remember what it's spoofing, but we can appreciate the spoof as an original creation.

The 1994 comedy movie Blankman is a superhero spoof, and it's one that unfortunately falls into the category of bad spoof. But to be fair, it's not the absolute worst. It could possibly stand on its own, because I have no problem with the idea of a wannabe superhero who looks so weak but yet could still save the day. The problem is with the other elements, namely the title character and the humor. They pull the movie down to the category of bad spoof.

The story begins with two brothers, Darryl and Kevin Walker. As kids, they love watching the 1960s Batman show on television, so much that they love to imagine themselves as caped crusaders. Fast forward to the present day with Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier playing the adult Darryl and Kevin, respectively. Kevin is a grown adult who works as a local news cameraman. In contrast, Daryl is a repairman who unfortunately still acts and sounds like a boy who has not even grown up, despite his genius and enthusiasm for inventing things. While I'm sure Damon Wayans can be a funny guy and a good actor, he doesn't get it right in this role. It's one thing to truly sink into a role and play a character flawlessly. It's another to do minimal unnatural acting, which seems to be the case here.

After this introduction of one pathetic character, we are subject to another. As crime gets out of hand in the city, Darryl decides to fight it, just like Batman. So he puts together an unintimidating makeshift costume as his superhero outfit. Yes, he has no super powers of any kind. The only thing that's special about this hero is that, earlier in the movie, he accidentally exposes a piece of clothing to a chemical, making it resistant to fire and other forms of damage. That and a few weird homemade gadgets, including a robot named J-5 (a reference to Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, perhaps?). So with all of this, he goes out to fight crime and, not surprisingly, gets his butt kicked in an alley.

As movie cliches go, this hero, who would soon be called Blankman (the reason for this is unfunny and not worth detailing), does eventually become respected and counted on to help others out of trouble, all because (believe it or not) he helps deliver a baby in an elevator. Also, as movie cliches go, this hero has to battle the main bad guy, who in this case is a ruthless mobster. There's also a subplot that involves Kevin wanting to impress an attractive reporter named Kimberly Jonz, played by Robin Givens. Kimberly wants to interview Blankman, but in the process seems to fall in love with him (rather quickly, I might add).

There's no need for me to go on with the plot. If you're familiar with movie cliches, you can possibly predict what happens in the rest of the movie. And with the plot I explained thus far, I'm sure it's clear enough that the movie doesn't quite do justice as a good superhero film spoof. Not even the Blankman scene transitions and on-screen words during action scenes, mimicking the Batman television show, can save this movie. Now, I will say that it's far from being truly terrible and horrendous. The premise could work, but the main character and the humor just didn't do it for me. That is why I say that Blankman is a movie that could have been done better.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Blankman, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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