The Phantom (1996) – Film

“The Phantom”

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The Ghost Who Walks walks onto the big screen in this adaptation of  a long running comic book series.    The story is set in 1938, with the 21st Phantom, Kip Walker,  battling wits with the evil Xander Drax and his henchmen, lead by Singh Brotherhood member, Quill.

What I really like about this film is that it’s about heroes.  About the hero using his natural resources, wits and charm to defeat the bad guys.  In the vein of Batman or Iron Man, Kip Walker is a regular guy in a costume without any real super powers yet he still gets the job done.  Diana Palmer is the tough young lady journalist/adventurer from his past, the one who is strong enough to share his future.  Xander Drax is the wealthy madman who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and is obsessed with the mystical powers of 3 magic skulls, the ‘Skulls of Touganda’.

Billy Zane pulls together a wonderfully believable performance with his usual suave charm .  Kristy Swanson gets the job done with her spunky performance.  Treat Williams is brilliant as cheesy, over the top, narcissistic, over confident Drax.  With supporting roles from Catherine Zeta-Jones, James Remar, Bill Smitrovich, Patrick McGoohan, and the amazingly talented Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa this film is well worth the watch.

I give this one 4 rum ‘n cokes for being good comic book fun, entertaining,  and staying fairly true to the comic.  It hits all the major things I look for in a movie,  an entertaining story and dialogue, good chemistry between the characters/actors which created empathy for them, and some character development.

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