Defendor - DVD Review

'director Peter Stebbings' well assembled cast barely put a foot wrong'

Defendor's similarity to the recently released Kick-Ass is no doubt part of the reason why we in the UK are seeing it as a direct-to-DVD release, rather than in its full cinematic glory. The comparisons however, only really extend skin deep and whilst Kick-Ass used the superhero genre to examine pop-culture and ideas of entertainment, Defendor piggy-backs on to it in the same way, developing a character drama from a sound superhero base.

Where Kick-Ass though was incredibly successful in its aims, Defendor falters rather more on closer analysis. Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson), our titular superhero by night, is only half as developed as he should by day and the lip service paid to his mental condition is nigh on unforgivable: presenting a man who simply 'isn't all there' and expecting that to be OK as an explanation as to his mental health simply doesn't cut the mustard. The tone too wavers between straight playing everything to more tongue-in-cheek laughs, leaving you often confused as to how writer/director Peter Stebbings is trying to pitch things in any given scene.

Having said that, when Defendor works it works really well and Stebbings' well assembled cast barely put a foot wrong. Harrelson, generous to a fault as an actor, works well whoever he's opposite but Michael Kelly, Elias Koteas, Kat Dennings and an under-used Sandra Oh all play their part too, making every scene a really joy of realistic character interactions.

On what was presumably a meagre budget, the technical brilliance of the film is also worth noting. The photography by David Greene, especially the outside snow shots of Toronto and Hamilton, is stunning and charismatic whilst the score by John Rowley does a great job of pointing you in the right tonal direction during the scenes where Stebbings can't or doesn't. A really solid comedy-drama with only a few inadequacies that prevent it from being something even more appealing.

Defendor is out on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK from Monday 6th September.

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'How dare you, seemingly harmless movie, for actually making me think! You bastard!' - Four Of Them


  1. Hey, I'm linked!

    This movie made me sad. The end. Dammit.

  2. In a way, I suppose it made me feel similar but I reckon there was enough uplifting material there to make sure it doesn't sink into depression.