"Hey you guys, we need someone to play a tiny obese evil clown, is John Leguizamo free?". This is the kind of question the producers of 1997 supernatural comic book film Spawn were asking themselves. Who did they originally cast as Spawn then? Danny DeVito?
Against all odds, Leguizamo's trippy turn as a Joker-style maniacal clown turns out to be the film's driving force and best asset. Which is not to say there's nothing else appealing about the film: a lot of effects are pretty creative and the whole thing is admittedly entertaining.
Unfortunately once you see what Hell looks like you soon forget the good stuff and find yourself wishing you were playing a 90's PC video game instead of watching a film in which entire sequences could have been directly lifted from one of those very games. Like I said, some effects are creative and some do work but that Devil thing and its army of minions all standing around moving like tiny CGI puppets in a sea of fire is just a fail by any standard.
I should also mention Martin Sheen's performance here. What WAS the man doing??? Putting on some kind of tough guy voice, wearing some kind of badly dyed wig and sporting a 5 o'clock shadow beard spouting random clichés and puns whilst having heart surgery being performed on him for about half an hour of the entire film.
Spawn is certainly no masterpiece and as far as comic book movies go, it's not The Dark Knight. But it is worth a look and isn't quite as awful as its reputation would have you believe: yes the effects are dated and primitive and yes Spawn's dog is called SPAZ...but John Leguizamo is a tiny evil clown!!! Seriously, what's not to like about that?
He's so tiny!
No disaster then but a fatally flawed attempt nonetheless.