The first & original Doll Man debuted in print in 1939 & was a golden-age costumed comic book hero created by Will Eisner, adventures of a chemist who worked out a formula that could shrink him to the size of a doll while preserving his full-sized human strength.
But cinema's Dollman (1991) is an alien detective who is normal sized for his own planet.
On a journey to Earth tracking a criminal, he is rather small compared to us Earthlings. "Shit. Giants. A place full of giants. I hate giants." He's just over one foot tall.
He's Brick Bardo (Tim Thomerson, who plays the role to perfection), a detective of the wise-mouthed film noir type. We first encounter him on his home planet, on the trail of the very, very bad "head" of a criminal operation, Braxton (Jackie Earle Haley), who has an evil plan.
This baddie got blown up at some point in the past (thanks to Brick), so he's just a scarred-up head riding about on an anti-grav plate.
"Modern medicine. They're doing some wonderful things." He's floating about talking tough, backed up by gangster minions intent on killing Brick, but of course they haven't a chance.
This is played 100% pokerfaced, apart from Brick wising off. Told his world will be torn apart atom by atom, he calmly, cooly asserts, "It'll never happen. You'll fuck it up. You always do." Which we can believe since the psycho's already just a head.
And sure, it's funny, & can even be laugh-out-loud. But you don't have to be a weirdo to see the seriousness of the story. It's ultimately no more absurd than a lot of science fiction, & is reminiscent of some of the odder short stories of Tom Disch.
His plans foiled, the head makes an escape in his spaceship & crashes on Earth, where he hooks up with a delinquent youth gang, intent upon organizing them into a power to be reckoned with.
Things don't go as well for him as he'd hoped, when he provides the gang ends up with a dimensional bomb without them quite understanding how much damage it can do.
Dollman takes on the Earth's giant juvenile delinquent gangbangers & in the end he even gets the girl (Kamala Lopez), though she's Earth-sized, inducing wisecracking Brick's command, "So Debi, tell me size doesn't count."
Cheaply made, it never matters, as Thomerson is so damned convincing as "thirteen inches -- with an attitude." Cheap, silly, & effective, this is one of the great B-movies, from early in the existence of Full Moon Productions, before it went all to hell with films exclusively for ten year olds.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl