"Lost in Translation"
For some unexplained reason, the filmmakers behind this comic book movie, THE SPIRIT, decided to make their movie deliberately, extremely corny. It’s almost as if they were trying to shoot themselves in the foot.
The movie opens with a cliché voiceover by the hero, Denny Colt, aka The Spirit, about his love for Central City, which he protects from the bad guys. Denny is a murdered cop who mysteriously came back to life and now roams the streets as the city’s invincible hero who cannot die. As the Spirit, Denny works with the police commissioner and his beautiful daughter, Ellen, a doctor who helps Denny recover from more serious wounds.
One night, a policeman phones the Spirit to stop a plot by the fiendish Octopus and his gang. The Octopus is trying to steal a treasure from the Spirit’s high school flame, Sand Saref, who’s now an international jewel thief. Accompanying the Octopus is accompanied his female sidekick, Silken Floss, and a group of chubby, stupid clones that he has created in his lab.
During an intense fight, the Octopus tells the Spirit they share a secret. The secret apparently has something to do with the fact that the Octopus seems just as indestructible as The Spirit.
Octopus and his gang manage to steal only half of the treasure from Sand Saref, but they realize too late they got the wrong half. The Octopus wants a vase that Saref still has. The vase contains drops of blood from Heracles, or Hercules, the immortal son of Zeus who voyaged with Jason and the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece. Octopus believes that the thing that makes the Octopus and the Spirit invincible will make him all-powerful if he drinks the blood of Hercules. Of course, the other half of the treasure, which the Octopus now has, is the actual Golden Fleece itself.
Can the Spirit stop his arch-enemy’s plan to rule the world? What will happen to the Golden Fleece? Will the commissioner’s daughter lose the Spirit’s heart to his old flame? Will this corny story never end?
Visually, THE SPIRIT is like a beautiful-looking comic book come to life. The complexity behind the images and characters, however, is never duplicated by the main story, the dialogue or the acting. Everything is played way over the top.
THE SPIRIT contains plenty of strong action violence, some very strong violence, a shot of rear female nudity, and foul language. Also, although the Spirit has a steady girlfriend in the commissioner’s daughter, the movie often alludes to the fact that the Spirit likes to play the field. Other than his playboy tendencies, however, the hero has a strong sense of moral duty, of saving the city and its people from evil villains. That said, this movie is more silly than profound, memorable or fun.
(PaPa, FR, B, LLL, VVV, S, NN, A, DD, M) Strong, slightly mixed pagan worldview refers to Greek gods and myths as if real, villain says there’s the “DNA of a god” in the blood of Hercules, and hero likes to make time with the ladies, plus some moral elements about stopping evildoers and protecting people in one’s beloved hometown; 36 obscenities (no “s” or “f” words), 14 strong profanities and two light profanities; plenty of strong action violence shot in a comic book style with some very strong violence but no really graphic gore though there is some blood, such as indestructible hero and indestructible villain fight and get hit with large objects, hero gets shot multiple times, hero’s heart stops a couple times but serum in his blood keeps bringing him back to life, gunfights, explosions, henchman run over, large object squashes henchman, villain explodes, villain’s arm severed, man knocked out by injection, two policemen shot to death, woman stabs hero with sword, and serum brings hero back from the grave; suggestions that hero plays around with the ladies even though he’s got a steady girlfriend, kissing, woman in belly dancer costume dances suggestively before hero who’s been tied up by villain, light sexual innuendo, including in one scene where woman talking to hero is undressed and there is a shot of rear female nudity; stylized image of rear female nudity in one shot and female cleavage and upper male nudity in other scenes; alcohol use; reference to selling drugs to pay for other criminal activities and hero drugged to sleep; and, stealing, villain, female sidekick dress up in Nazi uniforms for one scene, revenge, and the Angel of Death is in a female form and is called Lorelei.
THE SPIRIT is based on a groundbreaking comic strip from the 1940s. Denny Colt, the hero of the piece, is a murdered cop who mysteriously has come back to life to be a crimefighter who can’t be permanently hurt anymore. The Spirit’s arch-nemesis, a whacko called the Octopus, hints to Denny that they both share a secret having to with the fact that they both can take a terrible beating, but survive. The Octopus is after the blood of Hercules, the hero from Greek legend, which he believes will help him rule the whole world. Can the Spirit stop his arch-enemy’s plans and save the two women, and the city, he loves?
Visually, THE SPIRIT is like a beautiful-looking comic book come to life. Otherwise, however, it’s deliberately, extremely corny. It’s so corny that it’s hard to take the movie seriously as either an action movie or a comedy. Despite some moral elements, the movie has plenty of strong action violence, some very strong violence, a shot of rear female nudity, some sensuality, and foul language. THE SPIRIT is not meant to be very profound, but it’s not much fun either.