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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Crime > Urban > Superhero > Defendor (2009/Sony DVD)

Defendor (2009/Sony DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Film: C



Woody Harrelson is one of the only actors willing to constantly take risks, whether being an off-his-rocker would-be prophet in the highly commercial 2012 or the zombie hunter in the interesting Zombieland.  People not only love him for it, but at this point, expect it, doing interesting things not enough actors these days do.  For Defendor, he plays a loner with personal issues that thinks he is a superhero.


At first, Writer/Director Peter Stebbings seems intent on making this a darkly amusing comedy set in a real world where children grow up too fast, drug use, violence and murder are too casual and little seems hopeful.  Then, as told partly in flashback as Arthur (Harrelson) is being interviewed by a court-appointed psychiatrist (the underrated Sandra Oh), the safe distance that gives the audience derails the pace and the film becomes more serious than it ought to, no matter the subject matter and this results in it becoming every “realistic” work that looks down on the idea of either a superhero or the genre.  I do not think that is the ultimate intent, but that is where this lands up (predictably too) after its 101 minutes.


The result will be a curio that has a chance to become a cult item, but not a great film.  Elias Koteas, Michael Kelly and Kat Dennings also star.



The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image looks much better than such transfers we have seen lately on DVD and one of the reasons apparently is that the film is shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision.  Director of Photography David Greene pulls off some breakthrough work here and keeps any styling flares to a minimum.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is also clearer and more active than most such mixes of late, so the combination makes one realize this would make a fine Blu-ray as well.


Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by Harrelson, Dennings & Stebbings, Deleted Scenes of interest, 5 featurettes and Outtakes.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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