Some would accuse the makers of 'Spawn' of being creatively empty but that
would be unfair because this movie set out to be exactly what the final
product has become and that is a live action comic book. Based on the
creation by Todd McFarlane, 'Spawn' is the story of a government assassin
(Michael Jai White) who dies and goes to the thresholds of Hell and makes a
deal with Satan concerning his return to Earth to participate in creating
Armageddon where the conflict between Heaven and Hell will ultimately be
decided. White makes the deal because he is promised re-united companionship
with the wife he left behind at the time of his death on Earth.
John Leguizamo portrays Clown, a Devil's disciple sent by Satan to make sure
Spawn carries out his duty for the unspeakable forces of evil. Clown
maintains an Earthly liaison with a government agent (Martin Sheen) who is
bent on bringing biological warfare to anyone on Earth who will not follow in
his quest for power. What the forces of evil don't realize is that Spawn
receives visits from an English knight who died 500 years ago on Earth and
works to save Spawn's soul for redemption.
There are a lot of ingredients that went into this production and perhaps the
most distinguished compliment that anyone can pay this movie is to call it
technically efficient and a movie with extraordinary vision. It shows us
things that will undoubtedly haunt us and has perhaps the darkest look I've
ever seen in a motion picture. As far as the writing is concerned, the
characters are good but the story is a shallow one at best. Its story is
overwhelmed by special effects and a thundering music score but unlike
'Batman and Robin', 'Spawn' is a story about a crime fighting hero that
certainly has many more colourful characters that audiences will remember
long after they leave the theatre.
John Leguizamo puts a frightfully silly style of improvisation on his
character which doesn't always work but it is genuine to a certain degree in
keeping with Clown's personality and Michael Jai White is perfect as the
film's title character.
This movie is for adults and young people about 14 and over and may cause
nightmares for young children. Would I want to see 'Spawn' again? No, but I
was impressed at the technical aspects of the film which for me were
experimentation rather than genuine filmmaking. It's fast food rather than a
home cooked meal.
Copyright © 1997 Walter Frith