The Phantom - * * 1/2*

The Phantom is a second rate superhero flick that can’t quite compete. Billy Zane is the title character, The Ghost Who Walks. Four hundred years ago, his ancestor vowed to fight evil, corruption, greed and the Sengh Brotherhood of pirates from his fortress, the Skull Cave, in the remote Bengalla jungle, and now Kit Walker (Zane) has assumed the mantle and, of course, the purple suit. A new threat has arrived when evil industrialist Xavier Drax tries to unite a trio of ancient jeweled skulls, and unleash their supernatural power upon the world. Of course, the Phantom stands in his way. The Phantom’s superhero gimmick is his lack of one. While Superman has his powers, Batman his gadgets, and Spiderman his webs, the Phantom has, well, his glaringly purple suit. For its inspiration it turns to the adventure serials of the 30s and 40s, and, of course, to the Indiana Jones films. However, sticking the costumed Phantom into an otherwise normal world requires a larger leap to suspend disbelief than in those films. However, if that monumental task can be achieved, what lies on the other side is an entertaining film that although in possession of some good sets and good action pieces, never quite reaches its full glory. Although the Phantom’s origin may predate some of the later superheroes, you get left with a feeling that maybe they improved upon the original.

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