Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Daredevil - Director's Cut

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: R

Starring:
Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock/Daredevil
Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios
Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin/Wilson Fisk
Colin Farrell as Bullseye
Jon Favreau as Franklin 'Foggy' Nelson
Joe Pantoliano as Ben Urich
David Keith as Jack Murdock
Scott Terra as Young Matt Murdock
Erick Avari as Ambassador Nikolaos Natchios
Coolio as Daunte Jackson
Ellen Pompeo as Karen Page
Kevin Smith as Jack Kirby (Lab Assistant)
Frankie J. Allison as Abusive Father
Lennie Loftin as Detective Manolis
Paul Ben-Victor as Quesada

Special Features:
Commentary by writer-director Mark Steven Johnson and producer Avi Arad

Extended director's cut with 30 minutes of footage not seen in theaters

"Giving the Devil His Due: The Making of Daredevil Director's Cut"

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
DTS 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language Track
English and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 133 Minutes

Synopsis:
This is the Director's Cut of Daredevil. Here's the text from the DVD cover:

"Grittier and edgier than the original theatrical release, this extended-length Director's Cut version of Daredevil contains over 30 minutes of never-before-available scenes, including a devilish subplot in which Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) agrees to defend a not-so-innocent man (Coolio) framed for murder. Now the Man Without Fear must follow a trail of crime and corruption that leads all the way to the Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan). Co-starring Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios and Colin Farrell as Bullseye, Daredevil Director's Cut elevates a new breed of Super Hero to a whole new level of action and excitement!"

The original version of Daredevil was rated PG-13, but this Director's Cut is rated R for violence and language.

The Movie:
This review will only focus on the Director's Cut. You can read my review of the theatrical release here.

I should start out by saying that I enjoyed Daredevil. I thought the film was a good popcorn flick and I thought it was blasted unfairly by critics ready to unload on "Bennifer". So what did I think of this "Director's Cut"? To be honest, I didn't think it was any better or worse than the theatrical version. The core story is more or less the same. The advantage of the Director's Cut is that it shows a bit more of some of the characters and fleshes them out a little more. If you liked the film, then this is a good thing. If you hated the original cut of Daredevil, this won't be anything special for you.

As already mentioned, there's 30 minutes of extra footage added here and there throughout the film. Some of the additions are nothing more than a line of dialogue added to an existing scene. Other additions are entirely new subplots. You may find it interesting to note that some of the scenes from the theatrical version were actually removed entirely from this Director's Cut. Here are some of the most notable additions and deletions from the film:

- When young Matt Murdock is blinded and in the hospital, a nun leans over him and kisses his forehead. Later on throughout the film the nun is seen watching him in the background. Readers of the comic will realize that this is his mother.

- Before the action starts in the biker bar, we see a female bartender yelling at some of the bikers. They bring their motorcycles into the bar, pour alcohol behind the tires, then rev their engines and light it on fire as a woman lifts her top in front of them. This was likely part of the reason why this version got an R-rating. Later on as Daredevil fights the bikers, the fight scenes are extended and a little more brutal. To be honest I thought it was a better cut of the fight scene and it made me appreciate the choreography more.

- When Matt and Foggy are in the coffee house, their conversation is extended. We learn that Foggy once got Matt a seeing eye dog. The dog left him, thus reinforcing that Matt has relationship issues. If you liked Jon Favreau as Franklin 'Foggy' Nelson, you'll be glad to see more of him through this whole film.

- There are a number of shots in Matt's apartment showing him getting ready in the morning, putting salt in his sensory deprivation tank, etc. Not much, but you get more insight in his day to day life.

- The first fight scene between Elektra and Matt in the playground has an alternate ending. After telling Matt her name, Elektra's bodyguard arrives and drives her away. You find out that she ducked away from them and that she's from the wealthy Natchios family all in one whack. I think I preferred the original version better.

- Bullseye is seen arriving at the airport to board his plane. You see him going through airport security, being wanded, and intimidating the security guards. He also reveals that he keeps a paperclip in his mouth.

- After Elektra and Matt have their touchy-feely moment in the rain, Matt hears the mugging happening on the street below. Instead of staying with Elektra and cutting to the love scene, he ditches her and fights the mugger. So the love scene is entirely cut from the film.

- When Wilson Fisk is first introduced, he reveals that there is a leak in his organization, then he proceeds to brutally kill his two bodyguards. This makes his character even more lethal.

- Matt is shown periodically going to the church at night and having conversations with the priest. The scene of him in confession is cut entirely from the film. Instead the priest repeatedly tries to get him to come to church on Sunday throughout the film.

- In one of the biggest additions to the film, Matt Murdoch is shown defending Daunte Jackson (played by Coolio) in a murder case. Daunte is accused of killing a prostitute while high on marijuana. Using his "lie detector" senses, Matt believes he is innocent and takes his case. Foggy and Matt are shown going to the apartment of the murdered prostitute to look for clues. Matt uses his heightened senses to smell gunpowder that was used in the room, detect writing impressions in the desk, and more. (Incidentally, earlier in the film Matt's heightened hearing detects the prostitute taking her last breaths after she is shot. Unfortunately, Matt can't do anything to help her.) Our heroes are later shown in court defending Daunte. They also try to get the jury's sympathy by playing up that Matt is blind. Through more investigation and help from Ben Urich, Matt later finds that a dirty cop is involved and that the Kingpin was connected to the murder. This little case ends up being the one that exposes that Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin. This is probably the best of the additions since it is like a short movie on its own. It also shows Matt defending the underdog in court and it features more of Foggy Nelson.

- There are a couple more scenes showing Ben Urich figuring out that Matt Murdoch is Daredevil. At the end of the film he even confronts Matt on the steps on the cathedral and lets him know that he's about to expose him in the paper.

- Instead of saying, "I want a bloody costume", Bullseye says "I want a f******g costume." Again, this probably contributed to the R rating.

- The final battle between Fisk and Daredevil has a few more moves and a bit more brutal action. It's a better cut.

- In the theatrical version at the end of the credits, you saw Bullseye in traction in the hospital. This is now at the end of the film itself along with a scene of Wilson Fisk being locked in jail.

These aren't all of the changes, but as you can see there's quite a bit changed in this version of the film even though the core story remains the same. If you're a Daredevil fan, this is a required addition to your collection. If you didn't think much of Daredevil the first time around, this Director's Cut probably won't win you over either.

The Extras:
If you were looking for extras on this DVD, you'll be very disappointed. All of the bonus features were really on the previous edition of the DVD. In fact, this disc is more like a supplement to that edition rather than one to replace it. (I wonder why they didn't release this in conjunction with Elektra.) Here's what you will find:

Commentary by writer-director Mark Steven Johnson and producer Avi Arad This is a good commentary, especially if you're a comic fan. Since Arad and Johnson both have intimate knowledge of comics, they have a lot to say about them in relation to the movie. They point out all the changes made in the Director's Cut, no matter how subtle. I think you'll find it worth listening to if you're a Daredevil fan.

"Giving the Devil His Due: The Making of Daredevil Director's Cut" In this 15 minute featurette, Mark Steven Johnson, Avi Arad, and producer Gary Foster go into detail about the changes and why they were made. Johnson talks about how many of the cuts pained him though he knew why they were made. Comparisons are made between the two cuts of the film and some of the new additions are explained a bit more fully. It's a nice follow-up to viewing the film.

The Bottom Line:
Because of the lack of bonus features, this Director's Cut DVD won't replace the previous Daredevil DVD. However, the 30 minutes of additional footage will make it well worth checking out if you enjoyed the theatrical edition.

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