Based on the best-selling comic book series -- one of the first to feature an African American hero -- of Canadian artist Todd McFarlane, this dark action-fantasy follows the exploits of the Devil's newest minion, Hell Spawn, or Spawn… More Based on the best-selling comic book series -- one of the first to feature an African American hero -- of Canadian artist Todd McFarlane, this dark action-fantasy follows the exploits of the Devil's newest minion, Hell Spawn, or Spawn for short. Before his untimely departure from life, Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) had been a super secret government agent. Deeply in love with his wife Wanda (Theresa Randle), he decides to leave his deadly profession, but first he must complete one last mission. While in North Korea to destroy a biological weapons plant, he is betrayed by his treacherous superior Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen), who blows him up with the plant, after stealing some deadly germ material capable of wiping out humanity. All that remains of Simmons is a horribly burned carcass, his soul and a burning desire to see Wanda and his family one more time. Hearing opportunity's knock, the Devil makes Al an offer: if he will lead Satan's army in a war against heaven for control of the earth, his wish to see his family will be granted. Listening to the promptings of the Horned One's portly minion Clown (John Leguizamo beneath piles of elaborate make-up to make him look fat) Al accepts and becomes the invincible, super powerful Spawn. By the time he returns to the mortal plane five years have passed and his wife is living with her new husband. Spawn burns for revenge against Wynn and is egged on by Clown, but he is also beleaguered by Cogliostro (Nicol Williamson) who tries to persuade Spawn to renege upon his Devil's bargain and join the battle for good. Thus the superhero finds himself torn between revenge and the salvation of his endangered soul. Fans of McFarlane's stories, and the animated HBO series based upon them, are most likely to be pleased by Spawn, as will those who love flashy special effects and stylish production design.
Consensus: Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.