Sunday, 7 February 2010

Film Review: THE SPIRIT (2008)

Director: Frank Miller
Running time: 103 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 7th February 2010.


Based on a comic book series by Will Eisner this film plots the efforts of a once dead cop who has come back to avenge his killer. Exactly how he was able to come back from the dead is explained later in the plot, and no, I’m not going to tell you here. Made in the comic book style the director used to good effect in Sin City (2005) it has the same look and feel as that well known classic.

Denny Colt has come back from the dead and, to protect his identity, he now wears a mask and calls himself ‘The Spirit’. He is trying to capture and bring to justice, the criminal who killed him, ‘The Octopus’. To complicate matters, his old flame, Sand Saref is back in town, having been away for many years where she has turned to the criminal side of the law. Whenever ‘The Sprit’ and ‘The Octopus’ meet and fight, they are strangely unable to kill each other. It’s known that ‘The Octopus, along with his associate, Silken Floss, has been dabbling in genetics. This is shown by the gang of identical, but rather dim, henchmen they always have in tow. To cut a long story short, Sand Saref has committed a robbery and stolen two items, one she personally wants, and one she intends to sell. ‘The Octopus’ manages to steal the one she wants to keep and eventually they agree to swap. ‘The Spirit’ gets wind of this meeting and plans to take his final revenge on the Octopus. There’s a lot more, but it’s getting late and I’m sure you don’t want the entire plot anyway!

As I said at the beginning, this film was made in a similar style to Sin City (2005), which is also like, 300 (2006), which I enjoyed immensely. Anyhow, it seems that in this one they forgot to put in a coherent plot. From ‘The Spirit’ and ‘The Octopus’ beating each other up, to a love scene, to comic scenes with the henchmen, I found it quite hard to follow. Admittedly, it did all tie together at the end, but it took a long time, it seemed, to get there. Gabriel Macht was adequate as The Spirit / Denny Colt, whereas, Samuel L. Jackson was so over the top as The Octopus that I really thought he was going to bust a blood vessel! Honourable mentions go to, Eva Mendes as Sand Saref, Louis Lombardi as Pathos / Ethos / Logos & many other henchmen, Scarlett Johansson as Silken Floss, Sarah Paulson as Ellen Dolan and Dan Lauria as Dolan.

Over all, I found it a little too over the top for my taste. I guess they tried to make it bit too much like a comic book and it just didn’t work. As I was watching it, I was thinking it may work better as, say, a TV show, split into five or six 20 minute shows. I can’t really recommend it, and not having read the comic books, I can’t really say that a fan would really like it either.

My score: 4.9/10

IMDb Site:
Official Site:

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