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After being murdered for quitting his role as a ruthless yet moral government assassin, Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is sent to Hell, where he makes a pact with the demon Malebolgia--if Simmons is allowed see his lover, Wanda, again, he will agree to lead the demon's armies to storm the gates of Heaven. Transformed into a superhuman entity with shape-shifting powers and quick regeneration capabilities, Simmons (soon to be dubbed "Spawn" by Malebolgia's crony, The Violator) returns to Earth and attempts to reunite with Wanda, not knowing that five years have passed. He also seeks revenge on his former boss and killer, Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen), who has made a deal with The Violator to develop a lethal virus to take over the world, where Wynn is promised to be king.
Spawn wages an inner battle between good and evil as he tries to come to terms with selling his soul and what it could mean for humankind. Despite excellent effects and great potential, Spawn seems to come up short. While White certainly displays verve in his characterization of the twisted hero, he cannot overcome some forced dialogue. On the flip side, the usually engaging John Leguizamo portrays the sinister Violator--an evil monster masquerading as a rotund, weird-looking clown--as an irritating lackey who spews overbearing sarcasm and incessantly banal one-liners. Admitted, many of Spawn's action sequences are fun, and the transitions effectively brisk, but more could have been done to explore how Simmons grapples with his humanity in these daunting circumstances. But if you want sizzling action sequences and digital effects, this film should keep you happy. --Bryan Reesman
- Great Movie
The comic book is really great and the movie trys to equal that greatness and fails; however, as a stand alone movie it is very excellent.
I just hope they keep making other Spawn movies (with the length between the only one and present day I would have to say we aren't going to get another).
This is just another repackage of the movie from years ago. The only difference is the Director's Cut. Meaning its extra scenes and other bonus footage.
You have to be one that likes the extras to purchase this as if you had the original dvd of this you probably could pass on this one....more info
- John Leguzamo steals the show again
John is such a versatile actor you'd he would be doing more movies. He has the same range of talent that Johnny Depp has,but where Depp has delicate and androgonus features, John is rougher around the edges but their talent is so obvious. John stole this movie, the CGI wasen't up to snuff, but I think most of these types of movie rely to much on that and don't let the characters do the acting or tell the story. I enjoyed it. ...more info
- The HBO Spawn was better
What trips me out is that most of the principle charecters were black in the comic book and cartoon. This is what you call covering their bases and to make it a PG-13 movie was the wrong move. That why a lot of people went to see Blade because it wasn't a PC type movie. Spawn lacks the level of violence and taboo storytelling that the previous efforts have. I wasn't impressed....more info
- Mike Tyson vs. the Devil... DING DING!
Films of this sort require you to take an enormous amount of disbelief, but even when knowing this, it's still an ugly and pretty bad movie. When I first saw the trailer for "Spawn," my mouth dropped in sheer joy. It was released in the summer of '97, which is when I had just begun reading the Spawn comic books, and I really couldn't wait to see it. Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars, and I expected some sort of revisit to Batman's glory days...
But, oh, man. What a disappointment. For the first five minutes of the film, I was very much hooked. It opens with a merciless assasination, and goes headfirst into probably the best opening credits sequence I've ever seen in my life. But after that, it goes totally downhill. The special effects are great, but the script is cartoonish, and the acting is remarkably bad. Michael Jai White (who played the title role in HBO's Tyson) is okay as Spawn, but his overracting and bad delivery of emotion get to be rather tiresome. John Leguizamo is Clown, the Devil's cronie, a character so campy and corny, it made me want to laugh out loud. And then there's Martin Sheen, who plays an unbelievably evil mortal bent on world domination (original, huh?). His performance is nothing spectacular, either.
But despite bad acting, I think most of the fault should fall on director Mark Dippe. New Line should have hired someone else for this movie, like Tim Burton or Alex Proyas, because aside from doing special effects, this guy doesn't know what the hell he's doing. Some of the camera angles just make you scratch your head and wonder, "Why?"
I give "Spawn" two stars for the special effects and the opening credits sequence. Pretty sad, huh? Yeah, well, if you're about to see it for the first time, you'll agree with me.
P.S. -- Spawn's cape was awesome....more info
- A Movie Even Hell Can't Handle
Spawn Is the best Dark Superhero movie i ever saw. The Special effects are so Hellish awesome. The Clown was one of my favorite characters, because he was so funny. Who would thought that the villian would be the comic Releaf. This Movie Rocks.
If You Liked this movie check out The Animated Spawn Movies & Check out the Novel & Listen To The Soundtrack...more info
Tight movie!!! I really liked this movie back then when I seen it. Only bad thing I heard was, is that the Clown didnt act as crazy as he normally does in the comics etc. But the Clown was still funny in the movie. Had some pretty good action in it. Wished it had a little more, but was good enough I think. Check this movie out for sure, you should like it. I dont know whats up with the bad reviews but I thought this movie was pretty good. Like when they go to Hell to fight, I thought was pretty tight. How Spawn went on his own, and when he fought the Clown pretty tight scenes. Check this movie out!...more info
- Really fun flick!
I caught this in the theaters back in '97 and have enjoyed it ever since. John Leguizamo as Clown really steals the show! His humor and jokes are so twisted and gross that you just can't help but laugh. Unfortuately, Simmons/Spawn ends up playing second fiddle to him.
This film gets a bad rep, but it was much better than that other comic book film of summer 97 (Batman & Robin).
Again, Clown's humor is not for the weak stomached. Such as when he breaks wind and says, "Oops, that was a wet one." Then pulls his undies off to reveal the skid marks as evidence....more info
- What a complete waste of time
I think my title sums it up. I can't believe that Todd McFarlane (Spawn creator) could have spent so long developing his incredible comic book (the art alone is wroth the cover price!), and then coped out and let this piece of garbage into theaters. I thought the old Captain America movie was awful, but this movie is probably the worst comic to film translation I've EVER seen. How bad it is has become especially apparent in the last few years since the release of Blade (which rocked), and the upcoming Blade 2 and Spiderman movies. The only comic to film transition even close to being this bad in recent memory is X-Men, another complete waste of time and money. If you're into Spawn, buy the animated series, all 3 seasons, on DVD, and be happy....more info
- Underated Spawn of Comic
As far as comic heroes made into movies go, Spawn is better than some transitions. Good acting, screenplay, special effects, and music make it above average. I have seen many movies converted from comics and Spawn was passed over by many. The clown and heavy metal music in some places may be a little abrasive to some, but the overall premise and delivery is not flawed. It may not be the caliber of Spiderman, but it certainly is a far cry from being a B movie. This is one definitely for fans of movies like "Hellboy" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentleman". I like Superman, Batman, and Spiderman, but it is a refreshing change to see something that is not your mainstream comic book hero from time to time.
Spawn is based on a human man who works as a soldier that assassinates people for the government. When he realizes they are being used and wants to leave they decide his usefulness is ended. Meanwhile Satan is in the background waiting for this all to happen and when he is killed by his boss, he of course goes to hell and is made into a super powered spawn of the devil, hence Spawn. Spawn wants revenge on his boss and will do anything to get back to his wife and little girl. A pact with the devil gets him his wish, but not the way he thought. When he finds out his best friend married his wife after his death, he adds him to his list to kill. While all this is going on he meets a soldier of God and a demon who acts like a clown. The way he handles all this may be somewhat predictable, but still fun to watch....more info
- Unholy Comic Book Adaptation...
During the 90's one of the biggest comic book franchises around was Spawn. Created by former Spiderman artist, Todd McFarlane, Spawn was the hottest comic book commodity out there. Image Comics was, and still is the home to the anti-hero from hell, and with numerous titles bearing the name Spawn (Spawn, Curse of Spawn, and Hellspawn; not to mention the spin-off series' Angela and Sam & Twitch), the character was quickly becoming Image's powerhouse rival to competitor's at DC and Marvel Comics. With the characters enormous popularity, it wasn't long until movie studios came calling that were looking to adapt the anti-hero into a big screen movie, which is exactly what New Line Cinema succeeded in doing, just not with any satisfactory results.
"Spawn" essentially is the origin story for Image Comics' popular anti-hero. We are introduced to Al Simmons (Michael Jai White as Al Simmons/Spawn), an American war hero turned black-ops for the C.I.A. His latest mission went awry when civilians were killed during an assassination attempt, a job that the C.I.A. Director, Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen), had assigned Al to carry out. After this job, Al is set to retire, but not before doing one final job for the agency. This final assignment as it turns out is nothing more than a ruse, as Al is assassinated by none other than Jason Wynn, in a plot that comes directly from the pits of hell. Hell is fighting a war with Heaven, and Malebolgia the demon lord of hell, needs a someone to lead his unholy forces to the gates of Heaven and burn them down. That someone is Al Simmons, Malebolgia tricks Al into believing that if he leads hell's army then he can be reunited with his wife on Earth, and of course Al takes the bait. What Al didn't know, was that he wouldn't be returned until 5 years later and that he wouldn't look exactly like he used to (in fact, you could consider him a `crispy-critter'), his new charred appearance isn't the only change Al has to get used to, as his beloved wife Wanda has moved on with her life and is remarried. Now that Al's former life is officially over, Malebolgia sends his demonic underling Clown/Violator (John Leguizamo) to sort of torment Al and show him the ropes in learning his new hell-powers, and to give him the name `Spawn'. With his newfound powers Spawn has some plans of his own, in his mind Malebolgia didn't live up to his end of the bargain, so Spawn isn't about to lead hell's army anywhere, instead he's going to punish those who are responsible for his new lot in life, from Jason Wynn all the way to the depths of hell.
This adaptation of "Spawn" had huge potential, but it just didn't live up to it. Personally I'm surprised by some of the elements of the origin that were changed, especially since series creator Todd McFarlane was heavily involved with the making of this film. Some disappointments about the origin are as follows: Jason Wynn did not directly assassinate Al Simmons, instead he hired Al's best friend Chapel to do it (Chapel is not even shown in this film); Detective's Sam and Twitch are noticeably absent from all proceedings, I mean they could have at least been mentioned; and Terry Fitzgerald is a black guy, not a white guy. Story changes aside, there were plenty of other problems with this film, the special effects while good for the most part, the scenes in hell were terrible, clearly they were trying to reach too far beyond the capabilities of their special effects creators. And the biggest problem would have to be the story, it just wasn't that great of a story, the acting was good, but they didn't have much to work with. Frankly, more time should have been put into making a really top-notch adaptation that was more faithful to the comics than simply trying to cash in on Spawn's popularity at the time. At least the adult-oriented, animated series, "Spawn" on HBO was faithful, and truthfully much better than anything contained in this movie.
If you absolutely love the character of Spawn then you'll probably enjoy this film somewhat, but will still be disappointed by the changes to the origin and other missing elements that make the comics so great. Overall, a sub-par comic book adaptation, that could have been so much better than it actually was.
"Spawn" is rated R for violence and language....more info
- Que engendro de pelicula ...
La pelicula por si sola es malisima...los que han visot la serie de Hbo ( animated series ) es 10 veces mejor que la pelicula....malas actuaciones, efectos 3d de principiantes, la historia ni se compara al animated...no me gusto la participacion de clown ....es decir....me quedo con la serie de dibujas animados de Hbo...esta pelicula es malisima.....more info
- CLOWNING AROUND
SPAWN is one of the few comic book adaptations that actually looks and feels like a comic book. Todd McFarlane's immensely successful graphic books is brought to the screen with exciting action sequences and mindblowing special effects, except for the head demon who looks like a refuge from Sesame Street. Otherwise, the fx are great. The story is pretty simple: a CIA operative is betrayed by his boss and dies a fiery death. He is sent to hell where he agrees to return to lead Satan's army if he can see his girlfriend, Wanda. Five years have passed though and Wanda is now married to Spawn's best friend and they have a daughter. Spawn wants revenge on his killer but must face his own inner turmoil in deciding to fight for good or evil. Michael Jai White does okay as Spawn, but is burdened with heavy makeup and some inane dialogue. Martin Sheen (doing his best Vincent Price) is hammy as the villain. Good support from D.B. Sweeney as the friend and Nicol Williamson as the mysterious stranger. But it's John Leguizamo, unrecognizable under his heavy clown makeup, who chews up the scenery as the vile and crude Violator. He's the Penguin, Joker, Riddler and Catwoman all rolled up in one corpulent obscenity. He's really the star of the movie. The movie is entertaining and the scenery and music top notch, too....more info
- worse than bad
obviously the reviews written below me are either jokes or are people been paid in crackers to recommend this movie. This movie, without a doubt, is one of the worst catastrophes to ever hit the big screen. The story is incoherrent, the acting is laughingly bad and excruciatingly painful. Also, there is no reason why this movie should be rated R. Or hardly PG-13 for that matter. i just sat through the directos cut, the longest hour and a half of my (now) godforsaken life. It took an ENTIRE HOUR into the film for a single swear word- "a-hole", PG by MPAA standards, to emerge. Not a single drop of red blood is spilled, even when the pointlessly hot Priest gets shot in the head, a place where wounds tend to bleed slightly. The only violence is completely CGI. With only slight trimming this could pass for PG. This is not an R rated movie. The ending scene is stupid. The entire story is butchered and stupid. If you have, uh, any braincells you will agree with me on this atrocious skid mark of "cinema". ...more info
- Some notable computer-generated scenes
In classical music parlance, this movie is something of a Symphonie Fantastique. It has a lot of fantastic -- meaning out of this world, not necessarily great -- imagry but not much else to recommend.
Some of the other reviewers seem to know what's going on in this movie. It appeared to me the story was two enemies battle each other in a good vs. evil episode. I guess that's the story here, although that fat clown that turns into a computer-generated dragon won't go down in film history as one of the great bad guys of all time.
What I did find entertaining were the computer scenes in Hell, where the good guy and a buddy battled the dragon. That was pretty interesting, what with all the heat and flames and darkness along the way.
I am not naturally drawn to this kind of movie -- something based on a comic book that is a complete fantasy where just about nothing in the movie could happen in real life.
Having said that, I greatly enjoyed and admired "RoboCop" when it came out and set a new standard for computer-generated action. I thought about that movie while I watched this hapless drama unfold.
This film completely lacks "RoboCop"s wonderful direction, action-packed plot and wonderful characterizations but it did have those great scenes in Hell. So I found something worthwhile in this movie that kept my attention.
This is about as far from my typical fare as possible and I still wonder how I stumbled on it one night. If this happens to you, stick around and you'll probably find one thing here you like or enjoy....more info
- Spawn deserves better treatment than this
Another great comic book character ruined by a terrible movie adaptation.
Premise: Just like the comic book. Al Simmons is an ex-government agent who gets killed by his boss's underling during his final hit. He goes to hell and makes a deal with Malebogia that he would lead his Malebogia's army if he gets to see his wife Wanda(played by the brutally gorgeous Theresa Randall) again. Violator is ordered to keep an eye on Spawn to make sure he follows through on his promise.
Opinion: This movie could have been great so what went wrong? Miscast. Michael Jai White is perfect as Spawn but whoever thought that John Leguizamo made a perfect Violator needs a swift kick in the rear end. Granted that Violator is an annoying creep in the comic book but John Leguizamo makes him more cartoonish and goofy than the comic book ever did! Martin Sheen is usually good but he was not at his best in this movie. His performance was kind of questionable. I gave it two stars because its okay at times like Spawn's battle with Violator and Spawn crashing in on his former boss at a banquet. Other than that the script is weak and kind of does a disservice to the Todd Mcfarlane classic. If you want the real Spawn check out the animated series. Its leaps and bounds over this New Line Cinema tragedy....more info
- Spawned On The FX Studio Floor
I watched "Spawn" when it first came out, and for a 9-year-old kid in 1997, it was nothing short of epic. A recent re-viewing, however, was particularly damaging to the action spectacle that I had kept in my memory, and I'm sorry to say that I'm no longer a fan of the film. Based on comic guru Todd McFarlane's magnum opus of the same name, "Spawn" was largely a showcase of what you could achieve with special effects and CGI animation ten years ago; needless to say, the near-monthly ascension of such technology has left the film almost completely obsolete in this day and age. With no memorable acting and a storyline that was recently reworked into "Ghost Rider", I'd think that the only fans of the films were those that saw it when it first came out and continue to put up with it.
Al Simmons (Michael Jai White, "Exit Wounds") is a deadly mercenary deceived into furthering the political agenda of evil corporation-owner Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen, "The West Wing"). Upon discovering all the trouble he's unknowingly been causing, Simmons wants out, but is double-crossed and murdered by Wynn, who is in cahoots with a demonic clown (John Leguizamo, "Executive Decision") eager for Simmons' soul. Following a pact with the devil and a five-year internment in hell, Simmons returns to earth to find the life and world he knew long gone, with the clown gleefully enticing him to bring on the apocalypse. Only by regaining his humanity with the aid of a mysterious wizard (Nicol Williamson, "Excalibur") can he foil the plans of hell and protect the family he was forced to leave behind.
If you're going to watch "Spawn", pick up the director's cut - the theatrical release is relentless in its "let's-make-it-watchable-for-teens" homogeny: cuts and voiceovers galore, etc. However, even with the inserted cursing, sexual references, and increased violence of the unrated version, the film is in trouble: moving at a breakneck pace that allows no room for character development, the acting - especially Sheen's performance - is left looking extremely hammy, and the numerous action scenes are no more than showcases for what the SFX department can up with (i.e. the ballroom and chase scenes mainly highlight Spawn's animated cape) - in other words, there's no substance behind the shootouts, chases, and fisticuffs. Co-stars Theresa Randle ("Space Jam"), Melinda Clarke ("The O.C."), and D.B. Sweeney ("The Cutting Edge") aren't given all too much time to add to the story, so more or less, they're just there to fill in the roles occupied in the comic.
If the film does have a definitive asset, it's Leguizamo's performance: with the help of a truckload of makeup and prosthetics, he brings the Clown to life with a dirty grace and soiled charm that even the comics or later animated series were unable to capture. In addition, the Violator (Clown's monstrous alter-ego) is just about the best animation in the movie: its three scenes are highlights of the film, some of which still look decent today.
Sadly, these two fellows only make up so much of the movie, and thus, we're left with the comic book-style pacing, a rather lacklustre Spawn costume (White's makeup is cool, but without the cape, he looks rather diminutive), and the overabundance of dated CGI. The scenes in hell are particularly difficult to watch to folks who have seen "The Lord of the Rings" and "Pirates of the Caribbean", and previous jaw-droppers like Spawn crashing through the ceiling at the ball will now qualify as "ho-hum" in quality.
Since "Spawn", director Mark Dipp¨¦ has been forced into strict TV and DTV work, and Nicol Williamson has yet to appear in another film: how much this actually has to do with the contents of the movie is unsure, but it's poetic to think that "Spawn" proves the point that even the best-funded of movies cannot rely solely on technology to leave a mark in cinema history. Give it a shot if you're a fan of the likes of "Hellboy" or "Blade" - non-action fans, however, steer clear....more info
- One of the best movies of all time
First off I'm a JUGGALO so you know I like clowns now you put a short fat and ugly clown in the movie named Violator Im in heaven. Then you have John Leguizamo play him and Im going to be laughing so hard Im going to piss my self. Then you throw spawn in there and it can only make it better....more info
- Read the Comic Book Instead
Special effects are good, and that is just about it. The screenplay--if you can call it that--seems like it was written by a prepubescent; the "plot" is ridiculous and incoherent, and the dialogue, well, I have heard better in saturday morning cartoons. The film's attempt at a profound meaning is naive. Please, do not expect me to deliniate the story for you--it is muddled and unfathomable.
"Spawn" left me thinking, "What kind of a film is this?". For example: In one particular scene, Spawn jumps into a fireplace (yes, a fireplace) and is transported to a hell-like dimension where he encounters an army of demons led by some kind of fire monster. If you want a good laugh, listen to the monster's farsical and cartoonish voice! It may be worth watching just for that!
I have never actually read it, but after watching the film, I cannot help but think you would be better off reading the comic book....more info
- Worst Film EVER
I went to see this film in the cinema with two friends back in 97. The best thing about the movie was the popcorn that they served at the cinema. I wouldn't recommend this film to my worst enemy. We ended up walking out about half way through the film....more info
- Listen to no one else
I love this freaking movie. Jon Leguizamo does a picture perfect violator, and they picked a great spawn, whoever he is. everything is just as i imagined and it's one of my favorite movies of all times. it actually does the movie justice which you can't say about a lot of comic book movies. say what you will, it kicks the [heck] out of x men, that movie [stunk]....more info
- wow just an amazing adaptation to screen based on the comics
just as shocking and interesting when turned into a live action movie when converted from comic
the soundtrack rocks
John Leguizamo is the perfect person to play the sick twisted: evil Clown/Violater.
and whoever did the devil/Malbolgia's voice is sinister enough trust me.
great movie from start to end
highly recommend this
and highly entertaining
glad I have this on dvd
give it a spin folks...more info
- This isn't Spawn
As a fan of the character I'd say this is a disappointment especially considering the fact that Todd himself was involved. I recommend the comics which are available in trade paperbacks or the animated show which is available on DVD because this doesn't do justice for the character. ...more info