Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1994)

Renee's Role: Laurie Brinkman

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Darkman, who has, since the first film, devoted his life to perfecting his synthetic skin and fighting crime, is horrified to learn that his old foe, Robert G. Durant, is alive. Durant wastes no time taking control of his old business. He releases an insane weapons developer from a mental institution, and uses him to create a deadly laser weapon. Now, with the help of his disguises and inhuman strength, Darkman must forever rid the world of Durant

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Amazon.Com review: Sam Raimi created Darkman with a potential franchise in mind, and his original movie had enough flair to suggest a sequel was warranted. Unfortunately (or perhaps wisely--for Raimi), he handed over the straight-to-video sequel duties to rookie director Bradford May, and nobody bothered to come up with much of a screenplay. As a result, Darkman II plays like a bad pilot for a proposed Darkman TV series, with Arnold Vosloo (best known as a villain in Jean-Claude Van Damme's Hard Target) doing his best to replace Liam Neeson in the title role. Sporting a dastardly scar and delivering lackluster punch lines as he kills his many enemies, Larry Drake returns from the first film as the villainous Durant, who wreaks havoc in his attempt to finance and manufacture the world's most destructive automatic weapons. As he supports the synthetic skin experiments of a like-minded scientist, the scarred hero known as Darkman thwarts Durant's ruthless plot, but the case proves costly for the intrepid crime reporter (Kim Delaney, pre-NYPD Blue) who allies herself with Darkman's efforts. Basically, this by-the-numbers plot serves as a tissue-thin vehicle for lots of explosions and gratuitous violence, and it's all about as inspired as a bad syndicated action show. Of interest only to those who were dazzled by the original Darkman, and even then it's a disappointment. --Jeff Shannon