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Spawn (1997)

PG-13 96 minutes

Directed by Mark Dippe
Written by Todd McFarlane(comic book), Alan McElroy(screenplay)

 · Michael Jai White
 · John Leguizamo
 · Martin Sheen

Review by The Gnome (Billy Dal Porto)

Todd McFarlane is an amazing artist. He can create entire worlds with his tools, and it's truly a sight to see. Todd McFarlane can create compelling stories. His comic book, Spawn, was able to keep me interested for quite a long time, which not many comics can do. So now that we've laid out what I think of Todd McFarlane, it's good to note that Todd McFarlane had little or no say in the making of this movie. Spawn has great action, it's got somewhat of an interesting story, but it just fails to match its comic book counterpart.

For those of you not familiar with the comic, Spawn is the story of a Special Ops Agent, Al Simmons(Michael Jai White), that has a sudden change of heart on how he does business. His employer, not thrilled with this idea, takes him out. Or so he thinks. Simmons returns as Spawn, a soldier of hell's army, and the intended General. During the grooming process, though, he meets an older man that shows him a different path. It's basically heaven and hell fighting to gain a new soldier.




The special effects make up most of the movie, keeping it from being too dull. Though, on the down side, they're rendition of hell really isn't anything to gawk at. The devil himself looks like a demon crack-fiend. You'd think with a guy like Todd McFarlane producing you'd want him to actually design everything.

The story itself is just enough to keep you in your seat, yet also on the verge of making you fall asleep. It's rare that a movie moves so fast that it gets boring rather than confusing, but Spawn is able to do that.

The action has to be the best quality of the movie. They take total advantage of Spawn's powers and abilities, and they really do show a certain appreciation for the character. I got a real sense of of the fact that they tried to make a real Spawn movie and failed rather than just put a claim on the franchise.




Don't get me wrong, the Spawn comic isn't the most intelligent comic in the world. Not by a long shot. However, it always had a degree of maturity, and I don't mean just in its violence. It does what most successful comics do and blends the element of fantasy with realism. That's where the problems begin with the film adaptation of Spawn. There's no realism at all, not even a bit. It really comes off as just a bad action movie. Better than Van Damme, but barely matching Schwarzenegger.

The acting isn't the worst I've ever seen. Michael Jai White makes a good effort, but still doesn't quite pull it off. Martin Sheen does what he can, but amazingly enough for him, he gets stuck in one of his worst roles to date. He can do evil... he just doesn't do it here. I'd have to say that the best performance of the film is easily John Leguizamo as the evil clown. He's sick, he's twisted, but he's also pretty funny.



If you haven't read the comic, then this might actually entertain you. Being a fan of the comic, though, I was seriously disappointed. It's kind of a shame, too, because a movie like this had the chance to be a huge hit. Had Todd McFarlane overseen it, it probably would have. It did have one great quality though... its soundtrack. One of the best I've heard in a while. Rent it if you wish, but don't expect to be dazzled.

596 Words Published: 13 December 2002

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