01
Jan
09

Movie Review: The Spirit

spirit

 

 

My movie screens and I am her reviewer.

 

Starring Gabriel Macht, Jaime King, Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by Frank Miller. Based on the graphic novel by Will Eisner.

 

I expected it to be stylized, but didn’t expect it to get boring.

 

Story: It’s Central City. Think Basin City from “Sin City,” but with no anima. Denny Colt (Macht) is a cop who is shot in the chest and dies, only to be miraculously resurrected and take the form of masked crime-fighter “The Spirit.” His arch-nemesis is “The Octopus” (Jackson), a former coroner turned mad scientist/ criminal mastermind. When a cop is all but murdered “The Spirit” is on the case: a case of switched cases. He soon runs into old flame-turned-jewel heist queen Sand Seref who got the box containing a vase holding blood of Heracles (or Hercules, if you will) when she wanted the case with the “bling”: Jason’s Golden Fleece. Eventually this all gets sorted out. Eventually.

 

I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, but even with lowered expectations this movie slips under the bar. For what it’s worth the movie isn’t so much bad as it is boring. We’re treated to an alternate-now detective story where the characters act as if they were plucked straight from a 1940’s film noir. Or maybe it IS the 1940’s and some dimensional portal gave them cellphones, copiers, assault rifles, and helicopters. Either way, “The Spirit” takes place in this world and apparently people are few and far between. Aside from cops and crooks, very few people seem to exist in the sprawling mecca of Central City.

 

“Spirit” himself comes off as Clint Eastwood when he narrates but when he’s doing his job is basically no more than what he was when he died: a rookie cop. Only now he can get shot, hit, hurt, etc. and heal from the wounds. How is this possible especially when every time he thinks back, every time he blacks out, death/ Lorelei (King) is waiting to claim him? Well, that’s all due to the Octopus.

 

And The Octopus is busy finding the key to immortality (the blood of Heracles). With the help of his assistant Silken Floss (Johansson) and always-replenishing clones Pathos, Logos, etc. (Louis Lombardi) he plans on achieving it. Problem is that his henchmen are morons that he keeps killing off only to create more. Oh yeah, and believability.

 

This is the type of movie that I wonder if the actors involved even bothered watching it. There’s one point in the film where The Spirit is tied-up and The Octopus and Silken Floss are marching around in Nazi uniforms. And The Octopus’ ensemble is complete with a monocle. Seriously. Jackson has done worse I suppose but I wonder if Johansson watched it and thought, “maybe ‘Eight-Legged Freaks’ wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

 

Note: The above scene also contains a line where the Spirit asks, “I can be bored, can’t I?” Well yes you can. But I paid $9 and it wasn’t expecting to be.

 

For the most part, Miller did a good job on the “look” of the film. Yes, it does feel a little like “Sin City.” Yes, you made the actors and CG look nearly seamless. Yes, Eva Mendes is hot while she is scantily clad when everyone else in the scene is dressed for below-zero temperatures.

 

My grade: C

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