Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hardcore Spawn - The Good, The Bad and THE UGLY

Thanks to my wonderful brother and his vast collection, I've been catching up with some comics. A lot of comics. A plethora of comics. More comics than your average comic fan could handle. 
One mighty title in fact being the vast adventures of Spawn - from fallen soldier Al Simmons, to the adventures of Sam and Twich, right up to city protecting demi god like Hellspawn and his mighty powers (and I still haven't gotten to the end of the 150+ original editions nor the spin offs yet).

A lot of Spawn.
In the midst of all of the flying necroplasm and bullets, I thought I'd take a break from the comic form and explore the adventures of Al in a completely different form - namely the movie from 1997 when I was having a pretty one sided punch on with puberty. For some reason even after seeing it twice before, I struggle to recall much of at all. So after 100 comics and a rewatching, would it become more ingrained in my fanboy mind?

This one.

Er...no.
Damnit.

I shouldn't be expecting much from a 90's action flick with CGI, I really shouldn't. But the problem I have is that there are parts of this movie that work and work quite well...which in turn further exposes the flaws of the bad stuff in an even harsher (green tinged) light. If it was awful all the way through it could be forgiven as a mindless semi-horror hero flick but the fact that they tried (and sometimes suceeded) in parts really makes you wonder if they gave up in others and phoned it in to make it to box office in time. What we get is an up and down film that doesn't actually go anywhere. Allow me to demonstrate: (WARNING: SPOILERS AHOY)

THE GOOD

The hero of the piece.

Clown - With a little bit more screen time, Clown would be easy confused as the main character in this film as he brings more personality than everyone else on set combined, even if it is in the form of a wise cracking obese clown from hell who eats maggots and has a gas problem. And that's saying something. John Leguizamo plays Clown to a T with a grating personality, quick fire wit and a prescense you just want to reach out and uppercut which is just like Clown on paper. John has obviously read his comics, the design crew have obviously used more than a cursory glance on them and the writers really let fly with the wisecracking which all adds up to a proper adaption from the comics. 

Cold.


Jessica Priest - Heartless bitch, just like the comics. Looks, walks, talks lethally, just like in the comics. Has a smile that could set a string of orphanages on fire. Melinda Clarke really captures the 'I kill for a living and I truly relish every single second of my job' persona and makes a great counterpart to Senior Sheen. It's just a crying shame that she perishes the way she does as she has great adventures in the books but only gets to fire a few rounds (and flamable material) in the film. 

Wanda and Cyan - Decent enough casting for minor parts. 

Spaz the dog - Credible performance Spaz, really sold the 'I'm a dog' act.

Needs more drool.

Violater - Bloody amazing work on the heart ripping demon front visually and really looks like one hell of a monster you don't want to meet anywhere near a dark alley.

THE BAD

The bad.

Spawn - Oh dear, this doen't bode well when the character that is supposed to be the hero of the piece ends up on the bad list. So where should we start?
- You feel for him in the comics, you feel like he's a walking block of wood in the film. 
- He looks like a corpse in the comics, a burns unit casualty in the film. 
- Michael Jai White's rough Spawn voice comes and goes in parts
- Spawn looks as fluid as a steel girder.
- The acting is stiffer than a 30 year old mattress. 



Terry Fitzgerald - Er...anyone see what the problem might be here? Anyone? And why are you as meek as a tin ashtray in the film? Even the kid seems to have more fiber than Terry. 

I will bore you to tears if you like?

Cog - Bearded? No. Mysterious? Hardly. Squat but well built? Er...no. Wooden? Absolutely. Cast well? Not at all (the actor refused to grow a beard for starters.) 

Jason Wynn - While Martin Sheen is enjoyable (shades of future illusive man anyone?) he's nowhere near the malicious powerful bastard the comics make Jason out to be. Where's the devil in disguise power broker we all know and hate? Where's the family murdering super bastard massive thorn in Spawn's side gone? Less ham more utter bastard Martin!

Violater - Wait, wasn't he in the Good list? Yep. But he also ends up here because they decided that Violater doesn't talk when he's not Clown. He grunts, growls and howls like a wild animal. Which is a far stretch from the heart tearing wise cracking lunatic denizen of hell he actually is in the comic book series. 

The plot - Jumps around around a frog in a washing machine. Luckily I had a fair idea from the comics so I could explain most of it to my incredibly bored wife. 

Which leaves...

THE UGLY 

One entry here, one word entry. MALEBOLGIA.
 
Chew your arm off time.
Oh god, it's like leftovers from Lawnmower Man's virtual reality floor. Combined with an evil voice from an 80's kids cartoon and a rediculous mane from every member of an 80's hair band, he's as convincing as wet cardboard and equally as threatening.  All of the CGI budget obviously went to Violater which left hell and it's contents looking like a bad ride from an early Disneyland.

So in conclussion... stick to the comics kids.

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