Man-Thing (2005) starring Matthew Le Nevez, Rachael Taylor
If you’re a fan of the Man-Thing from Marvel comics, be forewarned. The movie version has almost nothing in common with it. With the exception of the names of some of the characters, and (partly) the visible look of the monster.
Synopsis of Man-Thing
After an oil baron buys sacred Native American land from the tribe that’s controlled it for generations, the tribal chief disappears, and soon scores of bodies begin piling up … and the new sheriff tries to unravel who, and what, is behind the murders.
Review of Man-Thing
It should be said upfront that this isn’t a terrible B-movie — but it isn’t a dreadfully good one, either. Matthew Le Nevez does a good job as the new sheriff who begins looking into the murders — since the previous sheriff has become one of the victims. Oil tycoon Frederic Schist (Jack Thompson) is the stereotypical evil corporate executive. He (and his son) doesn’t want the sheriff digging too deeply. Pretty school teacher Rachael Taylor does a good job as the local who does, of course, believe in all the spooky stories about “darkwater.” Darkwater is the sacred area that missing chief Ted Sallis sold to Schist, supposedly.
Anyone who’s read any of the Man-Thing comics will immediately jump to the conclusion that Sallis is the Man-Thing. They’re right. In the comics, the Man-Thing is an attempt at recreating Captain America’s super-soldier serum going terribly wrong. Here, the Man-Thing is effectively a swampy spirit of vengeance. Man-Thing is trying to destroy everyone and everything connected to Schist. Along the way, it kills a lot of innocent civilians and doesn’t care.
Rawiri Paratene also deserves special mention for his portrayal of the stereotypical “wise old Indian”. His character shares some lore with the audience — and is willing to sacrifice his life to end the slaughter. He takes a dry, two-dimensional character and breathes life into it. Along with Le Nevez, he raises the quality of the film.
Taken on its own, Man-Thing is a mediocre B-movie. It throws in some frontal nudity for no reason, bad language, etc. Outside of Le Nevez and Paratene, the acting doesn’t rise above average. In addition, the effects are average, the pace is slow, there’s lots of cursing, etc. I rate it 2 stars out of 5.
Editorial review of Man-Thing courtesy of Amazon.com
Kyle Williams (Matthew Le Nevez) thought taking the new post of sheriff in the sleepy town of Bywater would be exactly the change of pace he needed. But the peaceful town is not what it seems. While investigating a series of gruesome murders, Kyle discovers that the locals are hiding a frightening secret. Torn between whom and what to believe, the only straight answers he receives are from the feisty young schoolteacher Teri (Rachael Taylor). Together they embark on a quest to unravel the truth.