Blankman (1994)

CapeHalf a wrecking ball

This was made shortly after The Meteor Man on a very similar theme, except with the use of geek gadgetry instead of unexplained extraterrestrial phenomena as the source of crime-fighting power. But as befits an imitation, this movie has far less class than the original. This is the sort of cheap-shit comedy where the lead performer thinks that dressing badly and using a funny voice and a couple of crypto-gay body language mannerisms is comedy gold. In other words, it’s a Damon Wayans movie. This film contains no realism, even when it tries. As a result, there’s no material to make comedy out of except surface silliness. There aren’t any belly-laughs here... maybe an occasional “hmf!” and a few wry smirks per scene.

Wayans plays Darryl Walker, a hopeless geek who accidentally invents a way to make clothing bulletproof. His In Living Color colleague David Allan Grier plays Darryl’s brother Kevin, who knows karate. Between them, they add up to one low-budget superhero. Except that Kevin usually isn’t willing to do anything that would look foolish, and leaves Darryl with all the work. Anyway, Darryl a.k.a. Blankman starts cleaning up the hood. (In which, by an odd coincidence, almost all of the criminals are white.) There are about five thousand Blank-gadgets built from junk, but there are only two cool ones — a motorcycle railroad car, and some retracting rocket roller skates. They do some explicit take-offery on the Adam West Batman show, such as cartoon “Biff! Sock!” words flying over the fight scenes. They even play a clip from the show.

They try to deal with some kinda-serious themes similarly to The Meteor Man, but the script is so much more inept and nonbelievable that the attempt rarely gets off the ground. There are parts in the middle of the movie, though, that rise somewhat higher. Then for the climax it sinks again.

There isn’t much more to say. The movie isn’t good, it isn’t outstandingly terrible, it’s just a sad-assed mediocrity.

But I must say it’s cool to see Jason Alexander (yes, the Seinfeld Jason Alexander, not the one who married Britney for 55 hours), of all people, play a tough guy. He’s actually good at it.

But what does John Stanley say?

Succeed[s] where Robert Townsend’s The Meteor Man failed... a pleasant diversion.