Affleck brings Daredevil to the Big Screen

Preview by Jack Foley

NOW that Spider-Man has helped to turn the superhero genre back into a huge money-spinner, the next batch of action men are preparing to do battle with evil at the Box Office, beginning with Daredevil.

Based on the Marvel Comics character first created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Bill Everett, the movie finds Ben Affleck's Matt Murdock dealt an unfortunate blow when he is blinded by a freak radioactive isotope, while saving a man's life.

But while Murdock loses one of his key senses, his remaining four become amazingly acute, surpassing those of the average citizen. While working as an attorney in New York years later, however, Murdock uses his ability to fight crime and reach those the courts cannot, becoming Daredevil, or 'The Man Without Fear', while also battling his arch-nemesis, the Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan).

Also pitted against him is Colin Farrell's Bullseye, a villain whose deadly aim turns anything he chooses into lethal weapons, while Alias star, Jennifer Garner, supplies the love-interest, as high-kicking assassin, Elektra.

The movie, which has been directed by self-confessed Daredevil fanatic, Mark Steven Johnson, is due for release in both the US and the UK in February (Feb 13, here), and while rumours persist of a re-shoot, to spice things up between Affleck and Garner, advance word on the project remains hot; no doubt boosted by the current revival of the superhero genre (see also The Hulk, as well as a new Batman movie, and the return of Spidey) and a fairly impressive couple of trailers.

Johnson is also promising that fans expecting a tired attempt to cash-in on the success of other comic book heroes should rest easy, as Daredevil promises a different, even darker, spin on the subject. He cites the Japanese animation style as a primary influence on the action sequences, while promising that things will start with a bang - the movie is told in flashback, following a particularly bruising encounter for our hero.

It is a point with which Affleck concurs, saying that while Matrix-inspired wire work has been used, the fighting is grittier than usual, mixing 'smash-mouth street fighting with kung-fu and karate'.

Not convinced? Then there is also talk of Johnson preparing two versions for the DVD, when it is eventually released - a PG-13 for younger fans, and an R rating for those who like their action to be darker and harder.

As for the prospect of a franchise, producer, Avi Arad, is fully confident that there will be one - citing a definite sequel, as well as a possible spin-off for Elektra. Though when asked whether the likes of Daredevil and The Kingpin would be flitting between franchises (as they do in the comics), he was less sure, explaining that the logistics of achieving such a movie feat would be difficult.

Roll on the release of the movie, then. To whet your tastebuds still further, however, why not click here to access the trailer, via our AV Room (scroll down to the Twentieth Century Fox section).

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