Resurfaced: Spawn (1997)

In this series of articles, I’ll be posting reviews that have recently resurfaced. A number of the reviews I wrote in the past I thought had been lost to time, but after coming to a realization that they might still exist on the Wayback Machine, I was able to relocate many of them. I believe there are still some that are lost and they may be lost in perpetuity, but I will periodically search for that data or re-write those reviews that I have never found or which I never wrote to begin with.

For now, this series will be extensive with over 300 regular (400+ words), short (400- words), and quickie (1 to 2 paragraphs) reviews. I will attempt to combine them as best as I can. Reviews written in early 1998 or earlier, no date of creation exists. I will post the original writing date where known, otherwise the date will be listed as “unknown.” These reviews were written between the date of my site’s founding in 1996 through much of 2002. It was only after this period that I settled on the standard format and length of reviews as well as posting each one to its own individual page, which is why the old data was ultimately lost.

All but the review content has been replaced to match my current formatting guidelines, which are a bit more thorough than they might have been in those early days. Please note that I am attempting to retain as much of the original editing integrity as possible, so spelling and/or grammar errors may still be present. This may also mean that some factual data is not there as IMDb was not as ubiquitous as it is now. So, let’s get on to today’s review.

Spawn

Spawn

Rating

Director

Mark A.Z. Dippé

Screenplay

Alan McElroy, Mark A.Z. Dippé (Comic: Todd McFarlane)

Length

1h 36m

Starring

Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, Theresa Randle, Nicol Williamson, D.B. Sweeney, Melinda Clarke, Mike Hughes, Sydni Beaudoin, Michael Papajohn, Frank Welker

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Buy/Rent Movie

Soundtrack

Poster

Source Material

Basic Plot

Through a fiendish plot by the lord of the underworld, Al Simmons is transformed into the Spawn through his own death. When he returns life he once new has been erased and he decides to exact revenge on the man who murdered him and those who have taken over his life. All the while the underworld lord’s minion, a homicidal, gross clown weaves the plot around good and evil and the destruction of the world to create more forces of evil.

Review

Industrial Light and Magic has brought us some magnificent visual effects. From the wonderful dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World to a revamped Star Wars Trilogy, ILM’s crack staff must have been really busy on other projects, because the visual effects in Spawn are second-rate computer graphics and none are terribly convincing. They are choppy and overused. Add to that mix a lot of great actors playing crappy parts with very little acting talent put into them, and you have one of the worst films of the year and the decade. The only thing that saves the film from getting an F is the performance of the ever-delightful John Leguizamo whose Drag Queen in To Wong Foo and slap-stick in The Pest give him the inspiration and the talent to carry off the part of the ambiguous clown, while not completely up to par, his performance is still far above even that of Martin Sheen who makes me wonder if he’ll ever be a great actor again. The plot is attrociously old battle of good vs. evil and the decision to do what’s right, while not adding much of a dramatic flare, nor a compassion for the characters. We find ourselves waiting for one of them to get killed so we can have some intelligent action, yet it never happens.

Review Written

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