Who would have thought that out of all the guys in Cheers Woody Harrelson would be the movie star 2 decades later, and that is despite going bald?
That has almost nothing to do with Defendor, which is pretty terrible.
In Defendor Woody is the titular character, but his real name is Arthur.
In essence Arthur was mistreated and largely ignored as a small child after his Mum shot through and his Grandpa took him in but showed him scant interest.
Arthur basically missed out on the opportunity to have a normal childhood and even a basic education, so he grew up, for lack of a better word, dumb. Identifying with comic books more than real life Arthur develops an alter ego and despite being woefully ill-equipped to handle the roles and responsibilities of everyday superhero work he bravely has a go anyway.
We meet Arthur as he is being evaluated by a psychiatrist played by Sandra Oh after his efforts are foiled by the police, Arthur recognizes that he runs two lives, one as Arthur and the other Defendor, but stubbornly refuses to accept that he must “hang up his cape”, so to speak. In fact Arthur continues to exaggerate and embellish the facts to both Sandra Oh’s character and his friends.
The rest of the film is shown in flashbacks and cutaways. Arthur is a roadworks worker by day, and he lives in the company factory and heads out as Defendor by night.
As Defendor Arthur definitely knows no half measures, he wears black eye makeup, and his all black uniform is capped off with a helmet complete with torch and video camera to immortalize his deeds. The large “D” emblazoned on his chest is made of duct tape and replaced daily.
As he has no real superhero powers Defendor carries a big club, and has numerous smaller weapons strapped to his body or in pouches, these include jars of wasps and marbles that he basically flings at his enemies.
Now all of this is well and good if you know how to use it, but early on it is evident that Arthur skipped most of his superhero tutorials, as he is beaten up often in this film, and worse, by bad guys with better weapons and the strength of numbers.
This all actually sounds like an OK premise and I think in better hands this film would have turned out very differently. But despite a gung-ho effort by Woody Harrelson this film was hamstrung by the fact that nothing interesting actually happens.
Even after Arthur/Defendor is handed the nemesis that he desperately craves in Captain Industry by an opportunistic hooker played by Kat Dennings, (and named Kat in the film too), the film pans out exactly how you would think it would. I mean if you have a deluded dim-wit who thinks he is a superhero taking on a real crimelord, with the requisite violent henchman I might add, whaddya think will happen?
The film isn’t funny, not for a second, the action is boring and straightforward, and the only twist is that there is no twist.
As Kat herself would say in The 40 Year Old Virgin: “Awesome”.
Only she didn’t mean it then…
And I don’t mean it now.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. Points for effort, but all the trying in the world can’t make this interesting it would seem.