Darkman II is yet another example of how easy it is for a sequel to completely miss the mark, even when following up such a great comic book action movie. Darkman II starts out with the ludicrous request that we all believe Durant could have survived that massive helicopter crash at the end of the first film. Incredible. Anyway, so it starts out bad and is all downhill from there. We get an early performance from Arnold Vosloo who comes off of a ten-year film-acting career which had produced a series of forgettable films, this one among them. Now known almost entirely as High Priest Imhotep from the Mummy movies, Vosloo has certainly proved his ability to act with much of his face missing.
So here was my problem with Darkman II -' first of all there's no way that Durant could have survived the crash and come out of it with nothing more than some scars on his face and neck. That crash destroyed and then incinerated his body. Larry Drake is a tremendously talented villain actor, but if anything they should have created another villain. That, after all, was Westlake's reason for living at the end of the first film, to fight crime. Another villain would have been a perfect excuse for another Darkman. Resurrecting Durant is not. That being said, another major problem is that Durant's casual smugness is no longer amusing or entertaining. It's not fun or interesting anymore to see him constantly talking to people that he's about to kill as though he thinks it's the funniest thing in the world. His whole sarcastic demeanor gets real old real quick.
(spoilers) Westlake meets another scientist, David Brinkman, working on the same formula for synthetic skin that he has been trying to figure out, and Brinkman has made huge improvements, turning the 99 minute barrier into I think the 138 minute barrier, a huge step in their studies. Brinkman proposes a partnership, which Westlake eagerly accepts. Sadly, Brinkman happens to live in a huge warehouse that Durant wants to buy in order to set up the headquarters in which to pursue his endeavors for developing a nuclear handgun, but Brinkman doesn't want to sell. The expected 'convincing' ends in Brinkman's death, and Westlake has to suffer through the loss of another partner. So not only do they resurrect the same villain from the first movie, they even cut and pasted the plot. Yawn.
There's another subplot involving the death of a stupid, stupid TV reporter, eager to have a hit story to help her career but oblivious or indifferent to the dangers that it would put on her ability to remain alive. She doesn't believe at first that Durant is really alive, but when evidence seems to suggest that he is, she wants to be the first to break the story. My favorite little trick was how Durant managed to get a bomb into her car literally minutes after she breaks the story about him on live TV. She talks to the camera, then walks outside and explodes. A criminal who can work THAT fast DESERVES to monopolize all crime in the city.
The movie is plagued with horrific acting, particularly on the part of Durant's idiot sidekicks, who act just as dumb as their characters are supposed to be. There is nothing new covered here other than the same villain pursuing a different avenue of high level crime, and Vosloo delivers a respectable performance taking over for Liam Neeson, but Neeson owns this character just like Sam Raimi owns the picture itself. His work is far too recognizable to be taken over without losing a lot of the original feel of the film, and it's too bad that Durant exploded at the end of the first movie but apparently survived unscathed, while Darkman suffered no injury other than that at the very beginning, and yet it's him that is an entirely different person. Given the extensive level of disappointment that this movie delivers, I'm curious as to why they bothered with a Darkman III.
Review by Michael DeZubiria from the Internet Movie Database.