Follow TV Tropes


Film / Defendor

Go To
Don't pronounce it without the "o". He'll get pissed.

A 2009 film starring Woody Harrelson and Kat Dennings. Harrelson plays a well-meaning but mentally challenged man who creates the identity of Defendor, a costumed superhero, to fight back against street crime and eventually hunt down "Captain Industry". Advertised as a comedy, but was largely a drama.

This film contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Kat's father used to beat her up.
  • And Starring: With Sandra Oh and Kat Dennings. Also has Special Appearance by Lisa Ray.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Everybody except Arthur. Apathy is a theme in the film, and even during crazy and dangerous situations, the characters, including cops and criminals, seem relatively unfazed.
  • Arch-Enemy: "Captain Industry" for Defendor.
  • Asshole Victim: Dooney usually ends up being caught on the wrong side of Defendor's wrath. Later on, Defendor beats up Kat's father after learning that he beat her, which leads to the Framing Device of the film.
  • Balkan Bastard: "Captain Industry" AKA Radovan Kristic is a Serbian drug trafficker.
  • Batter Up!: Defendor's weapon is a trench club given to him by his war veteran grandfather.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: Defendor's other weapon are jars filled with wasps.
  • Big Bad: The main villain, and the man Arthur believes is "Captain Industry", is Radovan Kristic, a Serbian crimelord involved with drugs and prostitution.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Defendor dies, but the cartel he was pursuing is captured and brought to justice. Also, Kat finally starts getting her life on track.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The one well-dressed henchman who was actually an undercover cop.
  • Can't Stop The Signal: The truth about Kristic and Dooney, revealed after Defendor gets shot and both get arrested.
  • Cheap Costume: Complete with a D-insignia made out of Duct Tape.
  • Civvie Spandex: Defendor's costume is entirely made of black sweatshirts and pants, while the highlights, including the D Chest Insignia, are made from masking tapes.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: As Defendor, Arthur is clad primarily in black but is unquestionably The Hero of the story.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Defendor dies in Kat's arms after being fatally shot.
  • Dirty Cop: Dooney.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Defendor believes that guns are for cowards.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Defendor's costume involves quite a bit of it.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Essentially justified, given the way Arthur's mind works.
  • Groin Attack: Kat ends up shooting Dooney in the nards to escape from him.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Arthur. Also Paul's wife and son.
  • The Hero Dies: Defendor is ultimately shot dead by the Big Bad.
  • Heroic Bastard: It's implied that Arthur is this.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Arthur believes this of Kat, however much she tries to prove him wrong. Arthur's own mother was also this, being forced to become a prostitute to raise her son before succumbing to drugs.
  • How We Got Here: Most of the story is presented this way, with Arthur retelling his efforts to a psychiatrist.
  • Immune to Bullets: Defendor is shot point-blank with an SMG and ends up surviving due to the gun being filled with paint bullets. Subverted later on with Radovan, who shoots Defendor with real bullets and ends up putting him down.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not "Defender", it's "Defendor".
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Arthur and Paul's son, Jack, ever since Art saved him from getting hit by a car.
  • Mockspiracy: "Captain Industry", the alleged Super Villain that Defendor keeps looking for throughout the film, eventually ending with him believing that the Captain is the leader of the local drug ring. While it is true that drug lords are bad (it's eventually showcased that the reason Defendor started believing the "Captain Industry" thing is because of him overhearing a conversation about the "Captains of Industry"), they are not commanded by a Lex Luthor-esque mastermind. This is just one more example of Defendor's Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • Mood Whiplash: And how. A tragicomedy about a Kick-Ass-style street superhero that ends with him being unceremoniously shot and killed and becoming a martyr.
  • Nice Guy: Paul, who is Arthur's boss and functionally his caretaker due to the fact that Arthur saved his son from being hit by a car.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Arthur's attack on the mob ends up ruining the cops' sting operation when their mole shoots him with non-lethal bullets, thus exposing himself to the boss.
  • No Mere Windmill: The protagonist appears to be a lunatic going up against an imaginary supervillain called "Captain Industry". Defendor may or may not actually believe this, but in either case, the "Captains of Industry" is actually a metaphor for the very real threat of drug lords — the very villains that Defendor has been fighting all along.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Defendor's bees to some extent.
  • Parental Abandonment: Arthur's Missing Mom died from overdose while it isn't mentioned what exactly happened to his Disappeared Dad.
  • Protagonist Title: Defendor is the titular superhero.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Fairbanks and Dr. Park, who are generally understanding and patient with Arthur. The former even takes his tip seriously at the end, which leads to him catching Radovan.
  • Scary Black Man: One of Radovan's henchmen is a black guy who quickly defeats Defendor. However, he's actually The Mole for the cops, who accidentally outs himself when he spares Defendor and is killed by Radovan as a result.
  • Super Zeroes: Defendor is not a particularly effective crimefighter and tends not to fare well in fights. He can certainly catch his enemies off-guard with marbles and wasps, but he usually ends up losing any straightforward fight he gets into due to his enemies outnumbering him or simply being better armed/skilled.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Defendor's Wrong Genre Savvy leads to him running around thinking he is Batman (with dollar-store budget). His equipment is woefully useless against angry men with machine guns, and it eventually gets him killed.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailers make it seem as if the movie is a super-hero comedy, when it's actually a drama.
  • Vigilante Man: Averted. Defendor may try to beat up the bad guys and throw jars of wasps at them, he never actually tries to kill anyone.
  • Windmill Crusader: Played with, and maybe averted. Defendor may be completely wrong about the person who is the Big Bad, but he is nevertheless an evil that must be stopped, has enough connections and men with guns supporting him to feel like a Lex Luthor-esque villain, and maybe the leader is the man who killed Defendor's mother.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Defendor seems to think that he's in a light-hearted superhero popcorn flick. Too bad he'a actually in a dark superhero movie. Downplayed though, in that he's at least right that he's in a superhero movie.
  • You Killed My Mother: Part of Defendor's motivation, though it's probably just a delusion. When he mentions his mother's name to the main antagonist, he actually does backtrack and gives it some thought, though he's quickly defeated before he can answer, so it's possible he did actually kill her.