If you’re not familiar with Todd McFarlane’s best-selling comic book, here’s the story of “Spawn”. Al Simmons used to be an assassin for the US government. He was killed by his corrupted boss and sent to hell. Down there, he made a deal with the Devil: he agreed to lead Lucifer’s armies if he could just go back on Earth to see his beloved wife once more. The hitch is that what seemed like a few minutes in hell was 5 years on Earth. Spawn vows revenge, etc.
This movie starts out with great elements. The story is very intriguing, but the screenplay isn’t exceptional. Some parts are smartly written and the dialogue is sharp, but the plot ain’t quite involving. The direction is very flashy, but the film has an original visual style and the scenes are generally well executed.
The big problem is that the film features drop dead FX, but it uses them too much. I would have liked better to see more good ole fights and action scenes instead of all these computer-generated hell scenes. It’s a shame because the characters in this film are awesome. Spawn is very cool. I love his costume. Chains, spikes, a huge cape… It’s a mix of real stuff and FX and it looks very impressive. And Spawn has all these groovy powers. He also has this great attitude and a powerful voice. Michael Jai White has the same kind of style than actors in blaxploitation movies. The Violator, or The Clown is another excellent character. Basically, it’s John Leguizamo’s face in fat clown make-up that was integrated to a short, fat and disgusting body. He’s a great villain with plenty of personality, he’s totally evil, wacked-out and hilarious. The other bad guy is Spawn’s former boss, played by Martin Sheen.
As you can see, this film has everything to be a blast: cool characters, decent story and pretty good direction. Unfortunately, the filmmakers filled their film with tons of FX, leaving little place to action scenes. It’s frustrating because Spawn looks so cool but he almost doesn’t do anything. All I would have wanted is some good, low on FX fights and shootings. I guess I’m from the old school…