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Defendor (DVD Review)

6 Apr, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey

Street 4/13/10
Sony Pictures
Box Office $0.04 million
$24.96 DVD
Rated ‘R’ for drug use and language throughout, violence and sexual content.
Stars Woody Harrelson, Kat Dennings, Elias Koteas, Sandra Oh, Michael Kelly.

Defendor is an awesome comedy, no doubt. A mentally deficient man wanders midnight metropolitan streets, fighting crime with cheap, cheesy gadgets and a giant, duct-taped “D” on his chest.

Just like the cops and the scumbags Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson) encounters, you can’t help but laugh at the very sight of him.

We all laugh even harder when we figure out Defendor is dead serious.

The concept alone is hilarious, and Harrelson embraces everything the goofy script calls for. Poppington is living out a 12-year-old’s superhero fantasy, spending his nights hunting a crime lord (who may or may not exist), with no regard for the law, and not even a hint of self-consciousness.

Along the way he befriends a crackhead hooker (Kat Dennings), befuddles the legal system, inspires a city and wins the heart of the audience.

Yet there’s something very sad about Defendor (besides the fact he’s homeless and hopelessly clueless). Poppington, all good intentions aside, is a seriously damaged human being. And neither a Good Samaritan (Michael Kelly) nor a kindly therapist (Sandra Oh) can do anything for him.

By the time the credits roll, when Defendor reaches its surprisingly sad conclusion, you feel a bit guilty that you were laughing at all.

Sony fills this DVD with a comprehensive set of extras. The deleted scenes are exceptional, and the outtakes relay just how much fun the cast had making the film. A series of five featurettes (running nearly an hour long) is sometimes entertaining, sometimes tedious. There’s too much of first-time director Peter Stebbings and the crew, and not nearly enough of Harrelson and the cast.

There’s also a commentary with Stebbings, Harrelson, Dennings and producer Nicholas Tabarrok.

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