By Kyle Shea
Denny Colt was a young detective who wanted to uphold the law and keep the peace in the fictional “Central City.” Sadly, he was supposedly killed during a case. However, thanks to the actions of a supervillain called the Cobra, he turned out to still be alive and decided to use his new life to fight crime as the masked hero, The Spirit. With his domino mask and iconic red necktie, Spirit saved many lives and made many enemies, including The Octopus. A master of disguise, Octopus is never actually seen in the comics and could only be identified by a pair of purple gloves.
In 2008, “The Spirit” came out in theaters. It starred Gabriel Macht as the main character and Samuel L. Jackson as Octopus. In the movie, Octopus is an over-the-top lunatic who wants to live forever. He creates the “syndrome” that brings Spirit back to life and uses it on his own body, as well. The plot of the movie is Octopus trying to get his hands on the blood of Heracles, which will grant his wish for immortality and make him a god.
In the film, Octopus uses a number of guns. One of these is a pair of Smith & Wesson Model 500s. First produced in 2003, this revolver was designed to shoot 500 S&W Magnum, one of the most powerful handgun cartridges in the world. It’s a traditional revolver with a cylinder and large hammer. The cylinder holds up to five rounds of ammo. It’s a heavy gun, weighing over four pounds. The barrel cannot be removed from the gun, so it comes in two different sizes, one with a long barrel and one with a short one.
The Model 500s in “The Spirit” are specially customized for the movie. The barrel has been messed with to look cooler, with twelve holes made to look like a flash hider. The cylinder is smoother, but has tiny notches and five rings engraved vertically around it.
On the right side of the pistol there are some words engraved just in front of the screw, beneath the cylinder, and just above the trigger guard. The first set of words are “Made in USA.” The second set is “Marcas Registradas,” though the way it is engraved makes it look a little jumbled. This is Latin, put on to emphasize the trademark of Smith & Wesson to protect against counterfeit guns. The third set says “Smith & Wesson,” and the fourth set says “Springfield, Mass.” On the pistol grip, the logo of Smith and Wesson can be seen near the top. A final thing to note is the lack of rear sight on the gun.
Most of the other guns in this movie are customized and look very over-the-top. In the final confrontation of the film, Octopus pulls out a couple of bizarre assault rifles so ridiculous it’s hard not to laugh. His henchmen are seen using a number of guns, including AKMSs and Intratec TEC-9s. Eva Mendes uses a Beretta 950 Jetfire and Octopus once uses a pair of Desert Eagles in the middle of a fight.
There are movies that I’m more than happy to review. Then there are movies that make me unhappy and very uncomfortable. And then there is “The Spirit”, which made me crawl into a corner and weep for the money wasted on it. “The Spirit” is an awful movie. The acting ranges from poor to comic, especially from Samuel L. Jackson. Plot points range from bizarre to just plain stupid. The effects do look good at curtain points, but at other times it is some of the worst green screen you’ll ever see. It is no surprise that the movie bombed at the box office and received poor reviews across the board. If you enjoy watching a bad movie and making fun of it, then “The Spirit” is right for you. However, if you want a good movie, it would be better to skip this one.
SAR would like to thank the weapons department of Independent Studio Services in Sundale, CA for allowing us to photograph and record the history of these movie guns.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V26N5 (May 2022)|