Daredevil (2003) 20th Century Fox
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
The Cutting Floor is a series dedicated to films that had a major or dismal success at the Box office but thanks to the magic of home video, the viewer can experience what important scenes were left on the cutting room floor. Some may actually prefer the Director’s vision while others are content with the theatrical release.
With the 2nd season’s debut on Netflix along with the release of Batman Vs Superman, (Featuring Ben Affleck as Batman.) A week after, let’s take a look back at another “Dark Knight” Affleck is also known for, the Movie almost everyone loves to hate, The Man without fear himself, Daredevil!
The premise of this underrated Superhero thriller, based on the long running Marvel Comic recants the oh so familiar origin of the titular character via flashback sequences told in the perspective from Matt Murdock/Affleck’s narrative with a heathy dose of Boy meets Girl and the morale of justice and what defines a hero.
Murdock, a Lawyer and devout Catholic, by day and a Super vigilante by night, unravels a mystery while taking on criminal mastermind, The Kingpin (Micheal Clarke Duncan) and his sadistic Assassin, Bullseye (played somewhat over the top by Colin Farell.)
Matty boy suffers from an identity crisis to the extent of self-doubt when muttering to himself-“I’m not the bad guy…” Could this have stem from the public’s perception after causing the death of a convicted rapist found not guilty? I’m referring to one of the best highlights of this film is the great fight scene at Josie’s bar. Murdock’s client-a victim of rape, loses the case when testifying against her attacker Jose Quesada and believing that justice wasn’t served, Matt prepares to initiate Plan-“D”
Before the arrogant Quesada is free to go, Murdock leaves him a cryptic message and soon afterwards tracks him to justice as Daredevil but not without a fight! Hands down this was one of the most memorable superhero fight scenes that truly demonstrates DD’s fighting prowess. The martial arts in conjunction with acrobatics buts the previous Batman films to shame! Affleck immediately grasped hand to hand skills according to his trainer, so I had no problem with him landing the role as Batman.
I was very impressed when Daredevil’s radar senses gave a POV of how he is capable of dodging an array of bullets while accurately beating the shit outta Quesada’s thugs. The utilization of martial arts combined with acrobatics gave Marvel a one-upmanship over DC’s Dark Knight who after six fucking films still can’t get Batman’s fighting capabilities right! Until Batman Vs Superman of course.
Im glad that this showed the last of those stupid tropes of flaming logos which began with the Crow. Ben Urich tosses a lit cigarette to the subway platform that formed a flaming “DD” insignia was unintentionally funny.
There’s a great scene where a bruised and battered Matt enters his apartment after taking down Quesada. He chews on painkillers Darvon Vicodin and Percocet as if they were tic-tacs, spits out a tooth and enters a coffin like water filled sensory deprivation chamber.
It gave off the impression that crime fighting does not come easy since the hero doesn’t walk away unscathed.
In the Directors cut, a major subplot not seen in theaters, was the mystery of a murdered Prostitute-Lisa Tazio and the man Duante Jackson (Played by Rapper Coolio) accused of killing her. Murdock, who takes Jackson’s case, investigates the murder using his hyper sensory abilities to find clues tantamount to the defendant’s innocence. But also looking into this matter is news columnist Ben Urich (Played by The Matrix’s Joe Pantoliano.) Prior to playing Happy Hogan in the Ironman films, Jon Favreau rounds out the supporting cast as fellow attorney Foggy Nelson and he’s great as a supporting character who provides sufficient comedy relief.
There’s a good amount of fan service throughout the film with names of Marvel artists being thrown about a shot that mimics one of artist Joe Quesada’s covers and even a cameo by the man solely responsible for giving resurgence to the titular character -Frank Miller. Part Wire Fu actioner, part mystery thriller Daredevil Director’s cut in spite of its flaws, is fun watch and a much improved take over its theatrical counterpart.
Wesley Owen Welch: There’s been a problem…
Kingpin: Bullseye failed.
Wesley Owen Welch: Correct.
Kingpin: Send the guards home.
Wesley Owen Welch: [confused] But, sir…
Kingpin: I was raised in the Bronx, Wesley. This is something you wouldn’t understand.
Although the cut has been stamped with an R rating, sexual material such as the love scene between Matt and Elektra has been swapped in favor of a more cerebral pacing accompanied by more violence and profane language. Personally, I liked the brief flashback whereas a Nun silhouette comforts a young Murdock. This scene looked as if it were ripped straight from one of Frank Miller’s panels.
But like its theatrical cousin, there are a few annoying things that deserved to be cut has unfortunately retained: Lame melancholy songs, the flaming logo and yes, the dreaded Playground scene. However, the fight between Matt and Kingpin has been extended and Bullseye says to Fisk, ” I want me a Fucking costume”! Jennifer Gardner’s Elektra pales compare to the Netflix version, that being said she is a good actress but not as Matt’s love interest and assassin.
If you’re a fan of this character, I highly recommend you buy the Blu ray which is now sold as low as $5.99 at retailers like Best Buy. The disc is loaded with extras one in particular is “Giving the Devil his due” an in depth documentary on why a director’s cut was necessary for those who have already seen the movie. Also commentary, making ofs, bloopers and much more.
Daredevil is one of those films that would have been perfect for 3D conversion thanks to a chunk of in your face aesthetics such as Bullseye tossing shurikens, DD’s radar senses illuminating sudden danger and of course, the bulletime fight scenes which was filmed 5 years before 3D became the norm. Actually, I converted the files to 3D format and to test my theory, played it through my 3D compatible Samsung Gear VR and the results were impressive! Sure this Movie isnt up there with most of the Marvel Disney library, however its much better than both Sony’s Amazing Spiderman films and dont get me started on Fan4stink! So check in but before doing so, leave your highbrow at the door.