Film: Blankman

Blankman and Other Guy

Blankman is a 1994 superhero parody film, directed by Mike Binder. It features a nerdy amateur inventor trying to start a superhero career.

Darryl Walker (Damon Wayans) is an appliance repairman with a gift for inventing but has a tendency to observe life through rose-colored glasses, failing to notice the urban decay, political corruption and police indifference surrounding him (not even realizing that his flat is right next door to a crackhouse), in stark contrast to politically active Grandma Walker (Lynne Thigpen), his own grandmother. Grandma is a key figure in the political campaign of mayoral candidate Marvin Harris (Christopher Lawford), who is running on an anti-corruption platform; this results in Grandma's assassination by order of local mob boss Michael "The Suit" Minelli (Jon Polito).

Finally aware of what's going on around him, Darryl becomes determined to fight crime, at first in a low-key way (helping an old woman against a mugger), but he quickly decides this is not enough. So he creates an arsenal of weapons and gadgets, puts on a ridiculous suit and starts his one-man crusade. He is soon joined by his brother Kevin (David Alan Grier), a news cameraman with a decidedly down-to-earth view. Kevin acts as Darryl's advisor, determined not to let his brother get killed.

The cast is soon rounded by a love interest to both brothers, television reporter Kimberly Johns (Robin Givens). The press dubs Darryl as "Blankman." At first, Blankman is merely helping civilians and facing various thugs, but then takes his first high-profile case: Minelli's gang has taken Mayor Harris hostage in a bank, threatening to detonate explosives if their terms are not met. Blankman intervenes, sends the gang running...but fails to disarm the explosives. The popular Mayor is killed, the bank is destroyed and Blankman barely escapes with his life.

Now the public turns on the failed hero and Minelli is out for blood. He abducts Kimberly to lure Blankman to his location. This motivates even Kevin to put on a superhero costume, as imaginatively-named sidekick "Other Guy." All is set for a final battle.

The film was intended to be an Affectionate Parody of various films portraying Superman and Batman, but reviewers noted it was "surprisingly mild on good laughs." The deaths of Grandma and Mayor Harris were hardly humorous material, and several other scenes were often amusing but not laugh-out-loud material. Much of the better humor curiously came from Straight Man Kevin's reaction to extraordinary situations. The film was not particularly successful critically or commercially, though it did earn $7,941,977 in the U.S. box office. It was only the 122nd most successful film of its year. The film seems to be better remembered by those interested in the entire superhero film genre, rather than the general audience.

This film provides examples of:

  • And This Is for...: Darry tells Minelli his final attack is for his grandmother whom his men killed near the beginning of the movie.
  • Bald of Evil: A twofer—Kevin's boss Mr. Stone and Minelli.
  • Big "NO!": Done to humorous effect by Darryl after J-5 gets destroyed by a bomb.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Kevin's reaction when Darryl informs him that his suit wasn't bulletproofed— right after Kevin finished goading Minelli's thugs into shooting him.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Darryl built a robot designed to, among other things, safely contain explosives out of junk!
  • Damsel in Distress: Kimberly. And it is only when she is in danger that both brothers get serious.
  • Deconstruction: Blankman, like Kick-Ass many years after it, shows how much danger a person can put himself through if they decide to go fighting crime without any formal training. Without Kevin, Darryl would have been dead during the first night.
    • Also, the bank robbery scene points out how ridiculous it is for law enforcement to entrust their job to a caped crusader with odd gadgets; an obvious riff towards the concept of Batman.
  • Demoted to Extra: Kevin's seen this way to the public. They literally call him "Other Guy."
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Minelli. Blankman even calls him a "diabolical fiend."
  • Domino Mask: Kevin/Other Guy wears one (Blankman wears a sock or something).
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Blankman remains somewhat inept throughout the film. Including losing battles to thugs. But by the final battle, he is motivated enough to take down said thugs and their boss with relative ease.
  • Lighter and Softer: It's like Kick-Ass (which came years after this film) but done as a straight up comedy.
  • Love Triangle: Both Darryl and Kevin are in love with Kimberly.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted by Blankman. Not only is he about to faint when Kimberly kisses him, but when he heroically proclaims his intentions to make the world a safer place for his children, Kevin observes:
    Kevin: Your children? You've got to be with a woman first! You've got to knock some boots, man! You're a virgin!
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Kevin humourously keeps being referred to as "Other Guy" despite the fact he's a lot more competent at the superhero game (having taken martial arts) then Darryl.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The save attempt resulting in Mayor Harris' death.
    • To be fair, though, they didn't know he had more than one bomb before it was too late. The point of that scene was to show that even superheroes can't save everyone.
  • Police Are Useless: So incompetent that you have to question if they're under Minelli's payroll!
  • Rollerblade Good: Blankman uses jet-powered roller blades to catch up with Minelli.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Somewhat subverted. Grandma is murdered, all right, but not to send a message to either of her grandsons. She was targeted for her own activities. By that point, Minelli probably had no idea said grandsons existed.
  • Tempting Fate: Knowing Darryl made the costumes bulletproof, Kevin, as Other Guy, gleefully mocks all the mooks with guns. Then he gets shot in the shoulder, for you see, Blankman only made his own costume bulletproof.
  • Vigilante Man: Averted. Even when angry, Blankman isn't trying to kill anyone.