While mentioning the ideas and references for the the film Sparks even the average casual comic book fan may say who? What? Sparks? Never heard of it. Which is the same thing that could be said about Sin City to the mainstream pop culture fans many years ago. It’s a great comparison for this review because even though it will never reach the depths of all that in included with Sin City, Sparks portrays that sort of feeling upon viewing.
Initially upon hearing the project and seeing the first clips and stills it is assumed that Sparks would be similar to period comics adapted into films like The Rocketeer, The Shadow,and The Green Hornet. Although the settings may seem similar this is far from the truth. While maintaining a look of noir closely resembling the aforementioned Sparks is a violent, blood filled, macabre toned film that most comics would never venture into. The film stars Chase Williamson (John Dies at The End) as Ian Sparks. A young man who lost his parents at an early age but considered himself special enough to make him a super. He is eventually joined by Heavenly (Ashley Bell) a kick butt no nonsense vigilante that has caught the eye of Sparks. They form a great team until one tragic evening when they are set up and Sparks is unable to save Heavenly and he loses her to her old partner Sledge (Jake Busey). The cause of the violence is a new serial killer in town that prompts Sparks to question his past and seek out heroes with true power.
Chase does a pleasant job in the role of Sparks with the only downfall being him leading the narrative. It’s just too similar to his role in John Dies At The End and once you see how it is played out seems it feels unnecessary. Bell is the standout in the first half of the film looking very prime in her super outfit and has us wondering if she did her own stunts. She is an extraordinary actor so she was able to pull the roll off easily and provided a sexiness we usually don’t see from her.
What will hook you into Sparks is the dark nature of the film that had no issue upping the ante in brutality and gore. Let’s just say it’s rare to see a superhero film where a character gets his fingers bitten off. It was very welcoming to see the dark nature throughout Sparks and it’s what will allow this film to stand out from other super films. Sparks is definitely not a child friendly movie so be cautious on viewing this one with the family. There is a period that we are taken back to what was involved with Sparks parents death but unfortunately while it added needed substance it slows Sparks down. It’s another sequence that could have lived outside of the film to make it a more solid effort. While Sparks may not wow the average viewer it does serve as a nice break from the overdone completely inaccurate hollywood heroes films that are running rampant. On a week that has a slew of great releases Sparks could get overlook but it’s a good film that looks great and has a few subtle surprises that many movie watchers will enjoy!
Sparks is now available on demand and DVD. It is directed by Christopher Folino and Todd Burrows and stars Chase Williamson, Ashley Bell, Clancy Brown, Clint Howard, Jake Busey, and William Katt. Sparks is be distributed courtesy of RLJ/Image Entertainment.