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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.32%
Worth A Look: 8.54%
Average: 24.39%
Pretty Bad: 13.41%
Total Crap46.34%

5 reviews, 52 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"Ugly, stupid McFarlane trash."
1 stars

The first of many times I came close to walking out of 'Spawn' came right near the beginning.

The good guy (actually not-so-good guy), a government assassin who wants to retire, has been set up by his diabolical boss. Just before the boss torches the hero, we get the following exchange:

Hero: "If you touch my wife, you're a dead man."
Bad guy: "You're the dead man."

What are we, in kindergarten? Now, I have nothing against shitheaded dialogue if it's funny and delivered with a deadpan wink — if the filmmakers looked at the script and said, "This sucks; let's have some fun with it." A recent example is Jon Voight's immortal line in Anaconda: "I am not the bad guy. I did not eat the captain." But Spawn, a wannabe hybrid of Batman and Darkman and The Crow, is too grim and vengeful to laugh at itself. Besides, there's too much at stake — all those ugly action figures to sell. What's worse, its attempts at intentional humor (mostly fart jokes) fall utterly flat.

The aforementioned hero (Michael Jai White, who played Mike Tyson in an HBO biopic) goes to Hell and turns into Spawn, an undead avenger who would be nowhere without his snazzy computer-animated costume — it's like the Batmobile with toes. His mission is to get revenge on his boss Dr. Evil — er, I mean Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen) — and his La Femme Nikita babe henchwoman Jessica Priest (Melinda Clarke, who in another life — and under another name, Mindy Clarke — was the zombie babe in Return of the Living Dead 3). He receives instructions from two opposing gurus: a waddling, loathsome little troll called Clown (John Leguizamo, trying too hard to steal the movie) and a wise, mysterious Ben Kenobi clone named Cogliostro (Nicol Williamson, distracting himself with thoughts of his paycheck).

The chief ineptitude of Spawn is that it doesn't seem to know what audience it's aiming at. Is it going after the kids who read the comic book and play with the toys? Is it for the 15-to-25 demographic who watched the "mature" Spawn animated series on HBO? If it's meant to snare the uninitiated, I must say it failed to hook me. If it's simply a fan's movie, I've heard Spawn-heads yawn and recommend the film for its computer effects — not quite a ringing endorsement. In the end, Spawn is too juvenile for those who loved The Crow and too dark and violent for kids who would actually laugh at the fart jokes.

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane sat on this sacred turkey for a while before giving it to rookie director Mark Dippé, a former ILM wizard who worked on Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park. Too bad he didn't learn from those films, which seamlessly integrated their amazing computer effects with the live action. Here, Dippé brings the movie to a dead stop every few minutes so we can look at some more computer animation, which looks exactly like what it is: computer animation. The movie's vision of Hell, too, is depressingly cheesy.

'Spawn' isn't even a good demo tape for computer animation, and if you don't enjoy the effects, you start squinting at your watch. That is, when you aren't squinting at the screen. The movie is consistently underlit and edited with a Cuisinart -- it's worse than 'Batman and Robin.' Will someone tell these hot-shot directors that we occasionally like to see what's going on? Just a suggestion.

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originally posted: 02/03/07 06:00:46
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell nice visuals nothing more 2 stars
6/15/12 RLan Every actor makes at least one awful movie. Martin Sheen this one is your contribution. 1 stars
4/09/09 Dane Youssef One of the more fun comic book adaptations. Fun, but comes up short by modern standards. 4 stars
9/26/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Comic!! Awesome Movie!! 5 stars
8/25/08 Man out 6 bucks Action and eye candy passable. Supporting cast are cardboard. Too uncomplicated 3 stars
3/20/07 dude underrated 4 stars
2/05/07 Shobert No, we don't get it...and we don't want it. 1 stars
1/25/07 cube fx very good ....needs a 2nd movie to explain the rest 4 stars
11/24/06 Dark Enchantress It was funny people...u just dont get it do you? 5 stars
9/25/06 Booksworm At least it stays true to the original comic + great FX,which is all that really matters. 5 stars
9/20/06 Pritchett Yeah, pretty awful. 1 stars
7/16/06 Dan The Wrestling Man Good film,though if the sequel gets made it has to be a hard R 4 stars
7/14/06 David Cohen Spawn is the whinniest, most self-pitying superhero ever 1 stars
4/20/06 Indrid Cold Even the CGI sucks. Couldn't ILM make Malebolgia's mouth move when he talks? 2 stars
4/19/06 matt SHITE! 1 stars
10/31/05 Wisamane This movie is pure action, If your a Spawn fanatic youll love this one! 5 stars
9/13/05 Total Crap Eh... I like Spawn and all, but the acting is shit, and SFX is the only thing that saves it 3 stars
9/10/05 Osama Suxxxxxxxxxxx...!But I must agree, the cape is cool. 1 stars
8/22/05 frgfg Jerkoff! 1 stars
8/12/05 ES A boring comic, a boring cartoon and now somehow a boring movie= surprise it sucks 1 stars
8/08/05 Usagi Yojimbo Do yourself a favor - get the animated HBO DVDs...and by all means SKIP THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma Nothing special, but worth a look 3 stars
7/29/04 American Slasher Goddess Another horrible comic book adapation. 1 stars
7/20/04 He Who Shall Not Be Named! I love this movie I own both Cartoon & Movie versions of the film,I'm a huge SPAWN fan . 5 stars
2/14/04 Jingo P. Now hopelessly outclassed by recent , much better comic book adaptations. SNORE. 2 stars
1/15/04 Samuel It might not be faithful to the comics, but its still an entertaining movie 3 stars
4/15/03 Jack Bourbon But the hero is BLACK!!! And he's FROM HELL!!! Leguizamo was great, though. 1 stars
2/20/03 Dave Much better than Blade, but I still prefer the animated movie. 3 stars
5/18/02 Jenny Tullwartz One of the most annoying misfires among slime films ever. 1 stars
11/23/01 Andrew Carden No Plot, No Premise, No Good Axting, No Scripts, No Nothing. 1 stars
11/17/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Spawn is okay the first time you see it but, you know whats going to happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean Damn shame how the HBO cartoon versions were a shitload better than this. 2 stars
8/05/01 Eidalac I realy liked it - but I've never read the comics, so... 5 stars
8/04/01 angus moorehead tour de force by Leguizamo 4 stars
8/03/01 the scarecrow I thought it was alright, not raving, oscar winning stuff, but alright in its own ways. 3 stars
6/28/01 Geebo Why? 1 stars
3/11/01 Michael Grimm wasn't that bad 3 stars
2/23/01 Tyrone The best part of the film was the opening credits. 3 stars
10/29/99 Karahde Khan It this is the future of entertainment movies, I'll better quit watching movies. 1 stars
10/14/99 Lame-Oh worse than most PC-based and comic book movies 1 stars
8/02/99 Physh "I like Spawn, but this is SHIT. Stay away unless you are a BIG fan." 1 stars
12/07/98 Shadow Raider Those bastards fooled me and my friends. Shit revamp of a popular comic. Blech. 1 stars
11/24/98 Mr.Pink The director should be anally raped for making such a horseshit-movie 1 stars
11/23/98 Ben bad hell scenes 1 stars
11/13/98 Bad Kosh Movie sucks like those MC Mario party mixes in a Lexus... 1 stars
9/06/98 Young Einstein Trailer looked so good. They fooled me. Cunts. 1 stars
8/25/98 The Capital City Goofball Drove me to suicide. Leguizamo is a male Fran Drescher. 1 stars
8/20/98 The Man With The Helmet Wow. The trailer looked SOOOOO good. Yet it was so crap. 2 stars
8/17/98 Johny A few effects must have been drawn on the film with crayons. Utter crap otherwise too 1 stars
8/17/98 J-Guy (The MFC) bad rendition of a good comic. total shit. effect driven, completely. 1 stars
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  01-Aug-1997 (PG-13)


  11-Dec-1997 (MA)

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