MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

Based on a comic book character, SPAWN tells the story of Al Simmons (Michael Jai White), a secret agent who's killed by corrupt colleagues. Al descends into hell, but ascends back to earth after five years. He returns after making a deal with the devil in which he promises to lead Satan's army in the coming battle of Armageddon in exchange for seeing his beloved wife again. Al, now called Spawn -- as in Satan's spawn, is grotesquely disfigured from the flames of hell which burned him, and he's covered with a visceral armor from which claws and chains spring forth on command. On earth, Spawn is approached by two mysterious figures who direct him to use his talents to serve two very different agendas. Cogliostro (Nicol Williamson) encourages him to fight the devil, while Clown (John Leguizamo), a disgusting slob with a crude sense of humor, prods Spawn to instigate Armageddon. Spawn must choose the master he will serve. General audiences will be shocked and even horrified by this dark and fiery trip into Satan's world. The majority of viewers at the screening were teenage boys with punk haircuts, heavy metal T-shirts, and nose rings -- an indication of the intended audience.

Spawn eventually chooses to side with Cogliostro, an angel-like character. But even though good ultimately triumphs, the movie focuses on hell, Satan, and his legions. It especially demonstrates a savor for the demonic as it utilizes the skills of the Academy Award-winning team at Industrial Light & Magic to depict Satan and his forces in horrifying detail. This is no "B" movie. The special effects demonstrate a desire to reflect hell as realistically as possible. Violence from the demons will disturb many viewers as men are tossed like rag dolls by these bug-like monsters. Language also causes a problem with over two dozen crude words. Several trips to hell bring us face to face with Satan himself, a creature so big and frightening it will make your flesh melt. The soundtrack underscores the demonic theme with cuts featuring satanic musicians such as Marilyn Manson and Metallica. Christians and family viewers will want to avoid SPAWN like the plague.

Preview Reviewer: Jason Shepherd
New Line Cinema, 888 7th Ave, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10106

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (26) times - Mild 13, Moderate 13

Obscene Language: Few (3) times - no f- or s-words

Profanity: Several (5) times - All regular (J/C 2; God/Lord 3)

Violence: Many times - Moderate to Severe (vicious fights with punching, kicking, stabbing, shooting, and throwing)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (smoking and social drinking)

Other: Many grotesque, evil, and frightening depictions of demons and hell; Satanic ritual depicted as routine and even humorous; war between angels and demons portrayed.

Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: 16 and older

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