Tag Archives: Defendor


14 Apr

Title: Defendor
Year: 2009
Director: Peter Stebbings
Writer: Peter Stebbings
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Sandra Oh, Kat Dennings, Elias Koteas, Michael Kelly
MPAA Rating: R, drug use and language throughout, violence and sexual content
Runtime: 95 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%

Canadian actor Peter Stebbings comes forth with Defendor, his screenwriting and directorial debut that filmed in different parts of Toronto and Hamilton, and, on paper, Defendor was a film that I should have loved for two different and seriously valid reasons. One was its subject matter, a normal guy who pretends to be a superhero, I’m a huge geek so that obviously appeals to me, and within that pro one can say, as many actually have, that this was the film to hold us until Kick-Ass was released (and it comes out this Friday!). And lastly, it has Woody Harrelson as a star, and he’s an unbelievably great actor who I love in pretty much anything he does (excluding 2012), and it also stars Kat Dennings, who I not only have a huge crush on but is also actually a pretty damn good actress on her own. So yes, on paper, this one should have been outstanding.

And it was. It was good, not a masterpiece, not an five-star, A-graded geniality of a film, but good enough to have me wait for Kick-Ass to get here, yes, if you haven’t noticed already I have seriously high expectations from Kick-Ass, but Defendor is on its own, Kick-Ass expecatations aside, a truly remarkable little film, Harrelson plays this man-child who wears black tights and used ducktape to make a huge D on his chest and pretends to be a superhero. And he has silly gadgets and wants victory over the evil drug lord Captain Industry.

Yes, in many ways Defendor is obviously a comedy, Stebbings wants you to laugh, but he also wants you to consider this guy beyond the silliness of him, beyond the laughs his stunts provide, he wants you to consider the heroism of Defendor and what that means. This is a more complicated film than one would think, Arthur Poppington, the man behind the shoe-polish eye mask of Defendor, was abandoned as a child by his mother, he uses the costume and mission to escape from it all to be a better man, as he says so himself.

There’s a mystery surrounding Arthur the man, we get to know some stuff from flashback scenes with the Sandra Oh character, but not everything, we want to know more, but we are given what we get, but aided by a terrific Harrelson, and a shining Dennings in a supporting role as prostitute who finds refuge in Defendor’s lair, the movie is just terrific minding a few small missteps, and not only does it succeed in making us hold until Kick-Ass arrives, but it holds pretty damn well on its own, too, and I’ll be delighted to buy it once it comes out on Blu-Ray next week to enjoy it way after Kick-Ass is released and once that one comes out on Blu-Ray I’ll enjoy my very own themed movie night.

Grade: B+