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The Phantom (1996)

The Phantom (1996)

Compared to 1994 movie The Shadow, which is really quite similar, this one doesn't seem to have received that well a reception. Maybe it's because it doesn't take place in New York (though I don't see why that would be other than a benefit - pretty much all other superhero movies do), maybe because the plot isn't as brutal and sinister, maybe because the main character is considerably sassier than Alex Baldwin (he's still a good actor though!), maybe because the damsel in distress isn't an airhead in this one?

I don't know what factors in, but I'm here to raise the reputation of this movie once and for all. Because I liked it.

Compared to The Shadow there are plenty of similarities. Both Shadow and Phantom are mortal beings, they both look alike, they both don't like being seen, they both have a legend surrounding them, they both have a group of people that help them out and keep them up-to-date on what's going on in their jungle (one of these jungles is metaphorical) and, contrary to tradition in the case of The Phantom, they both take place in New York.

What the Phantom has that the previous doesn't, is realism, and much better actors, and a much more diverse setting, spanning countries as well as locations (well OK, the former had that too, but it was just a flashback!). They both have romance and action, but what about a chase on horse in New York? Well I admit the samurai in the previous one were pretty cool, but the Sing brotherhood are pretty cool too.

Man I don't know why I'm trying to prove a point by comparison... the purple suit isn't that cool, true, but unlike the former there's not a boring moment in this one. There's no maniacal laughter. There's no zoom-in on the cold glare and hold-camera-for-five-minutes. It's fast, varied, reminds me a bit of Indiana Jones aaand... well it's a great movie it's all. If you like action and adventure, an you don't think a purple suit's going to ruin it, this is a recommended watch.

And the comics are a recommended read too, but that's another post...

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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