Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Spirit (1987)

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for The Spirit (1987)They Just Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To!!

Starring: Sam Jones, Nana Visitor, Bumper Robinson, Garry Walberg

Director: Michael Schultz

1987 | 74 Minutes | Not Rated

“I thought you were this incredible, fabulous crime fighter.” – Ellen Dolan
“Well, nobody’s perfect.” – The Spirit

I don’t know why The Spirit caught my attention while browsing my local pawn shop. Its bland spine design certainly wouldn’t normally grab me. I’ve never really been into The Spirit comic books. I’ve never really given them a chance, I guess… But when I saw that this particular The Spirit DVD was NOT the one from the 2008 disaster of a movie I HAD to buy it, despite its slightly higher than normal (for a pawn shop DVD purchase) price tag. It turned out this version of The Spirit was from a 1987 TV movie I had never heard of.

After Detective Denny Colt (Sam Jones) is thought killed, he returns to fight crime under as The Spirit!

This version of The Spirit features quite possibly the greatest title screen… EVER. Check it out:

The Spirit 1987 title screenAre you kidding me!?! How amazingly awesome and cheesy is that!

As I said before, I haven’t really been a follower of The Spirit comics. They are kind of “before my time.” I only repeat this to reiterate the fact that I have ZERO clue if this is a faithful adaptation of the comic books. That said, it feels right… at least for the time. The 1987 version of The Spirit rates surprisingly low on the cheese meter considering the time it was made and the fact that it was made for TV. A made for TV super hero movie made in the ‘80s is 99% of the time a recipe for disaster but this works for me.

The Spirit comicThe Spirit is only a super hero in that he performs super heroic acts. He doesn’t have any actual powers. He’s just a normal ex-cop in a mask. At least he looks the part.

The Spirit 1987 Sam JonesThe one area where the movie was really lacking for the time period was the action department. On the big screen we had Arnold and Sly tearing it up and then a movie like this hits people’s home TV sets… I can imagine a little disappointment. The fights are rather boring and are probably about the quality of ‘60s Batman TV show, minus the “BAM!” “POW!” “SPLAT!”

Even with the subpar action sequences, The Spirit really surprised me. It’s not for everyone and for all I know may spit in the face of long time Spirit fans but for those looking for a light-hearted super hero romp from the past, this might just scratch that itch.

The Spirit 1987 poster

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