You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Phantom

"The Phantom" is the kind of production that has historically made comicbook aficionados cringe.

Cast:
The Phantom- Ryan Carnes Guran- Sandrine Holt Renny- Cameron Goodman Abel Vandermaark- Jean Marchand Lithia- Isabella Rossellini

Cranking out another unrecognizable movie based on a familiar title, “The Phantom” is the kind of production that has historically made comicbook aficionados cringe — a “reimagining” of the venerable cartoon strip character that feels as much like “Dawson’s Creek” as what’s actually an extremely cool masked hero. Add a new-look costume, and this “Phantom” is a mere shadow of even the much-maligned (somewhat unfairly) theatrical version that starred Billy Zane. RHI Entertainment’s business model provides promotable fantasy fare at reasonable prices, but here at least, Syfy has gotten exactly what it paid for.

In the Lee Falk strip, the Phantom struck fear in the hearts of adversaries. Known as “the ghost who walks,” the mantle passed from father to son for generations, making superstitious natives think the hero was more than 400 years old.

That’s the rough skeleton, in essence, that director Paolo Barzman and writers Daniel and Charles Knauf have used for a modern reload, in which Kit Walker (Ryan Carnes) — an inordinately athletic twentysomething student — discovers his whole life has been a lie. After an interminable intro during which he falls for a red-haired paramedic (Cameron Goodman), the kid’s informed he’s really the 22nd Phantom, having been placed in foster care after his mother’s murder 19 years earlier.

An extended training period follows, as Kit is whisked away to exotic Bengalla Island and groomed by his newfound mentors (Jean Marchand, Sandrine Holt) to wear the mask. Only as “reloaded,” after fleetingly surveying the original costume in a nod to fans, he segues into a bulky high-tech one — complete with black visor — that more than doubles his strength and speed. (Why he needs all the training when the costume does all that for him is anyone’s guess, but never mind.)

Eventually, Kit must face off against the Singh Brotherhood, a syndicate of ruthless pirates as ancient as the Phantom whose crimes include but are not limited to bad acting. The Brotherhood employs Isabella Rossellini as a mad scientist in a gray Louise Brooks wig, waging a bizarre plot involving mind control through cable TV. (Isn’t that just called “Fox News Channel?”)

Syfy is airing the two parts in one four-hour burst, perhaps to make the whole thing go away faster. It’s too bad, since there are flashes of what makes the Phantom interesting — including a signature skeleton ring that leaves a branded mark when he strikes opponents.

Mostly, this “Phantom” brings to mind the cheesy superhero projects of the ’70s and ’80s, before comics were taken seriously either as an art form or for their commercial potential. And after one (very) long night, this apparition, and aberration, figures to become a ghost all over again.

The Phantom

Two-part movie; Syfy, Sun. June 20, 7 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Quebec by Muse Entertainment in association with RHI Entertainment. Executive producers, Michael Prupas, Robert Halmi Sr., Robert Halmi Jr.; supervising producer, Sandrine Gros D'Aillon; producer, Irene Litinsky; director, Paolo Barzman; writers, Daniel Knauf, Charles Knauf; camera, Pierre Jodoin; production designer, Zoe Sakellaropoulo; editor, Arthur Tarnowski; music, Michel Corriveau; casting, Lynn Kressel, Kevin Kuffa, Lucie Robitaille. 4 HOURS.

Cast: The Phantom- Ryan Carnes Guran- Sandrine Holt Renny- Cameron Goodman Abel Vandermaark- Jean Marchand Lithia- Isabella Rossellini

More TV

  • Outlander Episode 310

    'Outlander' Recap: Jamie Jailed, an Ally Dies and Claire Tends to the Sick in 'Heaven and Earth'

    More Reviews Film Review: '12th and Clairmount' TV Review: Lifetime’s ‘I Am Elizabeth Smart’ Cranking out another unrecognizable movie based on a familiar title, “The Phantom” is the kind of production that has historically made comicbook aficionados cringe — a “reimagining” of the venerable cartoon strip character that feels as much like “Dawson’s Creek” as […]

  • Comedian Hari Kondabolu on Making 'The

    Comedian Hari Kondabolu on Making 'The Problem With Apu'

    More Reviews Film Review: '12th and Clairmount' TV Review: Lifetime’s ‘I Am Elizabeth Smart’ Cranking out another unrecognizable movie based on a familiar title, “The Phantom” is the kind of production that has historically made comicbook aficionados cringe — a “reimagining” of the venerable cartoon strip character that feels as much like “Dawson’s Creek” as […]

  • Jeffrey Tambor

    Jeffrey Tambor Departs 'Transparent' Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

    More Reviews Film Review: '12th and Clairmount' TV Review: Lifetime’s ‘I Am Elizabeth Smart’ Cranking out another unrecognizable movie based on a familiar title, “The Phantom” is the kind of production that has historically made comicbook aficionados cringe — a “reimagining” of the venerable cartoon strip character that feels as much like “Dawson’s Creek” as […]

  • EuropaCorp Sells French TV Production Unit

    Luc Besson's EuropaCorp Sells French TV Production Unit for $13 Million

    More Reviews Film Review: '12th and Clairmount' TV Review: Lifetime’s ‘I Am Elizabeth Smart’ Cranking out another unrecognizable movie based on a familiar title, “The Phantom” is the kind of production that has historically made comicbook aficionados cringe — a “reimagining” of the venerable cartoon strip character that feels as much like “Dawson’s Creek” as […]

  • Eminem & Skylar Grey Perform 'Walk

    Eminem and Skylar Grey Perform 'Walk on Water,' 'Stan,' 'Love The Way You Lie' on 'Saturday Night Live' (Watch)

    More Reviews Film Review: '12th and Clairmount' TV Review: Lifetime’s ‘I Am Elizabeth Smart’ Cranking out another unrecognizable movie based on a familiar title, “The Phantom” is the kind of production that has historically made comicbook aficionados cringe — a “reimagining” of the venerable cartoon strip character that feels as much like “Dawson’s Creek” as […]

  • 'Saturday Night Live' Addresses Al Franken

    'Saturday Night Live' Addresses Al Franken Sexual Assault Allegations: 'This is Bad' (Watch)

    More Reviews Film Review: '12th and Clairmount' TV Review: Lifetime’s ‘I Am Elizabeth Smart’ Cranking out another unrecognizable movie based on a familiar title, “The Phantom” is the kind of production that has historically made comicbook aficionados cringe — a “reimagining” of the venerable cartoon strip character that feels as much like “Dawson’s Creek” as […]

  • Chance The Rapper Debuts Thanksgiving Song

    Chance The Rapper Debuts Thanksgiving Song, Sings 'Come Back Barack' on 'Saturday Night Live' (Watch)

    More Reviews Film Review: '12th and Clairmount' TV Review: Lifetime’s ‘I Am Elizabeth Smart’ Cranking out another unrecognizable movie based on a familiar title, “The Phantom” is the kind of production that has historically made comicbook aficionados cringe — a “reimagining” of the venerable cartoon strip character that feels as much like “Dawson’s Creek” as […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content