Darryl Walker (Damon Wayans) is a clumsy nerdy appliance repairman, who is a gifted genius and blessed with a pure heart and optimstic Pollyannish personality. He is childishly naive to the realities of living in an inner city neighborhood that is gradually decaying, political corruption, and the police are on strike. It takes the murder of his grandmother, an avid supporter of Alderman Marvin Harris’ anti corruption campaign for Mayor, by members of mobster Michael Minelli to awaken him to the realities of his city’s urban decay.
He expresses his frustrations by forcefully protecting an elderly transit passenger from being mugged, and by ranting about the general corruptible state that the city has become. He was so pure and shielded from reality presumably because of his inventing that he doesn’t even realize that there is a “crackhouse in front of our flat”, and is so oblivious to the dangers that such an environment poses that he tries to storm into it and rebuke the gang members
This new awareness to social issues, inspires Darryl to become Blankman. He uses his technical expertise to create weapons and gadgets. His brother Kevin, a tabloid news cameraman, goes along with this fantasy believing that it’s Darryl’s way to deal with the murder of his grandmother from an insane act of violence. He demands an audience with the police commissioner, but the police are not impressed with his actions, ridicule him, and arrest him for disturbing the peace. Darryl is released on orders to see a shrink. The shrink calls Darryl normal, but a geek, infuriating Kevin, who the shrink then attempts to psychoanalyze. After Darryl is nearly killed protecting a prostitute from her pimp, Kevin tries to get him to tone his activities down, advising and assisting him with a neighborhood watch. After he delivers a woman’s baby in an elevator, he is asked fo his name. Darryl just stares, and Kevin replies, “He’s gone blank, ma’am.” Both the lady and the reporters interpret this as a name: Blankman. Over time, he protects various other people in the community, building up a reputation and inspiring both the town and other superheroes, such as Gay Man and Midget Man. Kevin, hoping to win the affections of Kimberly Johns, a reporter at his TV station, begs Darryl to allow her to interview him. He relents, on the condition that she wear a carnation. He brings her to his secret hideout, an abandoned subway station, and they talk about how he took up his duties to memorialize his grandmother and prevent crime from happening to others. Impressed by his heroics and modesty, Kimberly immediately falls in love with Darryl and she even kisses him, causing an embarrassing reaction.
Mayor Harris, who refused Minelli’s attempts at bribery, attempts to bring in outside money to pay the IOUs the city has been giving its workers. He also asks that Blankman be there to protect the people and receive a special award. As the money is released, Minelli’s henchmen storm the bank and take the mayor hostage, threatening to detonate explosives. At the police chief’s request and the crowd’s chants, Blankman attempts to save the mayor, but is unable to disarm all the bombs. He reveals his identity to the mayor and tells him his grandmother truly believed in him. Mayor Harris wishes him well and warns him to run, saying he will give Blankman’s grandmother his love. Blankman runs out screaming as the bank explodes. The crowd, seeing his failure, turn on him, chasing him down the street. Darryl then gives up his heroic works for a normal life, getting a job at McDonald’s.
Wanting a great story, Kevin’s boss Jason Stone, a tabloid news junkie, manages to contact Minelli and trades knowledge of Blankman’s love for Kimberly in exchange for an exclusive interview. While doing research on Minelli and their grandmother’s death, Kimberly calls Kevin with the news. As Kevin answers, Minelli takes Kimberly hostage. Minelli issues a verbal threat to Kevin (thinking he is talking to Blankman), telling him he will kill Kimberly if Blankman doesn’t show up. Kevin rushes to Darryl’s workplace with the news, but Darryl refuses to help, wanting a normal life. Kevin finally convinces him with the news that Minelli had their grandmother killed and that he will wear the costume Darryl designed for him. The two rush to Darryl’s underground lair where Darryl once again becoms Blankman, and Kevin becomes his new sidekick but without a name. So he just goes by “Other Guy”. The two heroes then rush to the TV station.
After shooting the reporter interviewing him, Minelli becomes fed up. While threatening Stone, Blankman and Other Guy crash through the window and attempt a rescue. The two engage in a fight with Minelli’s goons, losing. They are placed in a lottery water tank and left to slowly drown. Stone and Kimberly are chained to desks and left to die as Minelli has hidden bombs in the building. At this point, Blankman calls in J-5, his robot assistant, to save them. J-5 drills hole in the tank and the pair kick their way to freedom at the last minute. The duo then search for the bombs, finding them in a ladies’ bathroom. Activating J-5′s ”bomb disposal mode,” Blankman stuffs the explosives inside and frees Kimberly. Stone is left behind, a joke Other Guy wants to play on his boss. Once outside, the explosives detonate, destroying J-5. Distraught, Blankman threatens revenge.
Tracking Minelli to his hideout in a factory, the two prepare for the final battle. Other Guy, however, is overconfident and is wounded due to the fact that his costume isn’t bulletproof like Darryl’s. Blankman then defeats Minelli’s goons with his electric nunchucks. Just when Minelli is about to kill Other Guy, Blankman activates his jet-powered roller blades and captures Minelli and delivers him to the police. Blankman is once again acknowledged as a hero (this time, along with Other Guy) by the people, receiving the Mayor Harris Award for outstanding community service at a ceremony in their honor. Other Guy receives a Blankman t-shirt (much to Kevin’s disgust).
After the ceremony, Kevin introduces Kimberly to “Darryl.” The two make light conversation until Kimberly pretends to see a purse snatcher, putting Darryl on alert. Kimberly then reveals she knows that they are Blankman and Other Guy, and she kisses Darryl to prove it. Darryl then gets the same embarrassing reaction he had the first time.
Darryl falls to the ground in pain from his reaction with Kevin and Kimberly laughing at him. The film ends with a shot of a banner that reads “We Love You Blankman…and the Other Guy”.
Before the superhero craze of the 2000s, everyone tried to be one in the early 90s. This is how we get Blankman.
Damon Wayans is a member of the super talented Wayans family. They just have good comedy genes (though I wonder if the gene pool is fading after seeing their last few films). The past month, I’ve been catching him on My Wife & Kids reruns. Watching him in this today, coupled with seeing his last show, really made me remember that this guy is a true talent.
As far as his character goes. It kind of grinded on me. I think this has a lot to do with me being such a fan on In Living Color. Blankman/Daryl sounded a lot like Anton mixed with Mr. Handi. For those that never watched the show or can’t remember, then this isn’t an issue, but for me it was a detracting, albeit a minor one.
David Alan Grier seems to always be playing the straight man. I guess if it works for you, why change it, right? There really isn’t much to say about him here, other than he does come off as a bit overbearing as the bigbrother, but that’s to be expected.
Robin Givens has never been lovelier than she is here. Something about the innocent reporter role she plays that really worked for her, and her acting chops weren’t too bad, either.
The action in this film is comic book-esque, but what do you expect? Its a superhero film, and they were fans of the old Batman TV show. Some scenes even have the sound effects written across the screen, which I thought came across as a nice touch.
Every good hero needs a villain. Jon Polito as Michael “The Suit” Minelli is Blankman’s. I would have liked for him to be a but more anti-Blankman. What I mean by that is, if Blankman has no powers and uses technical know how, then why couldn’t Minelli be driven mad by some sort of accident that gave him all kinds of wonderous powers? That’s just me, though.
Polito does what he can as a mob boss. If I’m not mistaken, this is a role he does often, so it’s almost instinctive.
Now, as I sat here watching this, haf of me was like WTF?!?, but the other half was quite entertained. Why, you may ask? Well, if you’ve ever seen Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier on In Living Color, then you know that they have awesome chemistry and comedic timing together. This isn’t the greatest film, but for what it is, it’s not too shabby. I think if Jim Carey would have been thrown into the mix, it might have been that much better. Sure, I think you can check it out, but don’t have too lofty of expectations. This is just a fun film, nothing more, nothing less.
3 out of 5 stars