STARRING: Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, DB Sweeney, Theresa Randle

1997, 97 Minutes, Directed by: Mark Dippé

spawn.jpg (11168 bytes)Spawn is a special effects-ridden adaptation of the best-selling superhero comic book of the same name designed for today’s acute attention deficit video game generation.

The story is about . . . but heck, who cares? The movie itself doesn’t care - instead it bombards the viewer with special effects, a loud techno soundtrack and lightning fast editing so that it is difficult in the end to follow the action, never mind care about what exactly is happening.

The finale, set in a CGI rendered hell, looks like it’s taken directly from some PC game. Call me old fashioned but at times I miss the old models and puppet creatures of yesteryear - some of today’s CGI effects look even more fake.

The actors don’t cope much better. Not even Nicol Williamson who played a very similar role years ago as Merlin in Excalibur comes out of it with any dignity intact. Martin (Apocalypse Now) Sheen is wasted as a bad guy. Worst of all is John Leguizamo as the chief bad guy, the Clown, whose machine gun delivery grates on one’s nerves. Making things worse is that his dialogue seems to consist of unfunny flatulence jokes. And don’t even get me started on the rest of the cast of bland unknowns . . .

In the end Spawn is a wasted opportunity and unless you happen to be a thirteen-year-old boy then you’re advised to steer clear of this movie. And even if you do belong to said demographic group, read the comics instead - they’re much better. File this movie under dismal comic book adaptations along with Batman & Robin, but that's what you get if get a special effects expert (first-time director Dippé used to work for ILM - George Lucas' SFX outfit) to direct it . . .



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