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The Phantom (1996)

The Phantom (1996)


Billy Zane
Treat Williams
Kristy Swanson
Catherine Zeta-Jones

Directed by Simon Wincer

In the 90s, two superhero movies caught my eye, one was named The Shadow (1994) and the other was this The Phantom (1996). The Phantom for me fairs better than The Shadow (1994), it took its time to dive into the villain and made his reach stronger than that in The Shadow (1994).
It does not try to bore you with the mystic behind what led to The Phantom, it does a brief intro and the movie goes straight to business.

The movie was directed to use old style action sequences which requires stunts and the huge plus for the movie are the actors. Each held their own and delivered the needed fun to make this movie watchable numerous times.
The movie is based on The Phantom a long running comic strip by Lee Falk. Which he started in 1936 and is still ongoing now in 2020. The film is loosely inspired by three of The Phantom stories, The Singh Brotherhood, The Sky Band and The Belt.

The Phantom has no special powers and relies on his intelligence and skills to get by. There is a myth about him, calling him immortal which is because many other people have carried the mantle before the one of which we are watching in this movie. The Phantom is a skilled marksman and good in hand-to-hand combat.

In this plot, the movie is set in 1938 around the time of the 21st Phantom, Kit Walker (Billy Zane). He as the Phantom has been keeping his side of the world safe in the Bengalla Jungle. His paths crossed with a villain named Xander Drax (Treat Williams) who wants to attain ultimate power.
Drax collates his criminal empire in New York while he has his men go after the three Skulls of Touganda which he needs to attain ultimate power.

Drax has a problem in newspaper owner Dave Palmer, who has been investigating Drax thoroughly and his ties to a group best known by their spider web tatoo.
Drax orders Sala (Catherine Zeta-jones) to kidnap Diana Palmer (Dave’s daughter) to use her as leverage to end her father’s investigation, when he heard that Diana was going to Bengalla. She was heading there to investigate the spider web meaning.

The Phantom came to her rescue when she was kidnapped by Sala and we learn that his alter-ego Kit used to date Diana. After assuring her safety, he heads to New York to stop Drax.

I prefer the story here to that of The Shadow (1994) and enjoyed how eccentric some of the cast were.
The Phantom is easy to follow and digest, as a pulp-adventure movie, it is fun to watch.


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